Articles By Steven Lassan

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The SEC is very top-heavy when it comes to receivers in 2013. Leading the way is a cast of potential All-Americans, including Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Ole Miss’ Donte Moncrief and Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. But Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell and LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. aren’t far behind.

Just like the individual players, the SEC is relatively top-heavy when it comes to ranking the individual groups for 2013. Alabama ranks as Athlon’s No. 1 receiving corps in the SEC for 2013, with Georgia checking in at No. 2. 

Kickoff for the 2013 college football season is still two months away, but it's never too early to project how the year might play out. Athlon will be taking a look at how each position stacks up in the BCS conferences and nationally until the start of the season.

Each unit ranking was evaluated based upon how it will perform in 2013 - not how it played in 2012.

Ranking the SEC WR/TE Corps for 2013

1. Alabama
Thanks to coach Nick Saban’s relentless work on the recruiting trail, the Crimson Tide’s 2013 receiving corps could be the best of his tenure in Tuscaloosa. Amari Cooper had a standout freshman season last year, catching 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cooper came on strong at the end of 2012, finishing the year with four 100-yard games over the final five contests. Cooper is an Athlon Sports second-team All-American for 2013. Quarterback AJ McCarron won’t have to look Cooper’s way all of the time, as seniors Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell are reliable options, and redshirt freshman Chris Black is due for a breakout year. Adding depth will be DeAndrew White and incoming true freshmen Raheem Falkins and Robert Foster. True freshman OJ Howard could push Brian Vogler to start at tight end.


2. Georgia
Despite the departure of Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, the Bulldogs shouldn’t be concerned about their receiving corps. After spending part of last season at cornerback, junior Malcolm Mitchell will spend all of 2013 at receiver. Mitchell caught 40 passes for 572 yards and four scores last year, including nine for 103 yards in a 29-24 win over Kentucky. Michael Bennett caught 24 passes through the first five games but suffered a torn ACL in early October. Mitchell and Bennett should form one of the SEC’s top receiving duos in 2013. Senior Rantavious Wooten, junior Chris Conley and sophomore Justin Scott-Wesley will round out the top five receiver spots, but freshman Tramel Terry and junior college recruit Jonathon Rumph will push for time. Tight end Arthur Lynch averaged 18 yards per reception in 2012 and is an Athlon Sports second-team All-American for 2013.


3. Vanderbilt
The Commodores aren’t particularly flush with depth at receiver, but it’s hard to find a better one-two combination in the SEC. Jordan Matthews turned down a chance to enter the NFL for one more year at Vanderbilt. The senior enters 2013 with 150 career receptions, 2,282 yards and 17 touchdowns. Matthews led all SEC receivers with 94 catches in 2012. Chris Boyd is back after catching 50 passes for 774 yards and five scores last year. And Jonathan Krause is slated to fill the No. 3 role after recording nine receptions in 2012. Freshmen Jordan Cunningham and Carlos Burse will provide depth. Junior college transfer Brandon Vandenburg could push Kris Kentera and Steven Scheu for the starting nod at tight end.


4. LSU
With the defense returning only three starters, LSU’s offense may have to carry this team in the early going. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger returns, and the receiving corps brings back four receivers with at least 18 catches last year. Jarvis Landry led the team with 56 receptions in 2012, but Odell Beckham was the unit’s top playmaker, averaging 16.6 yards per catch. Seniors Kadron Boone and James Wright combined for 44 catches in 2012 and will anchor the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the receiving corps. However, true freshman Avery Peterson and junior college recruit Quantavius Leslie will push for snaps. LSU could feature the tight end more under new coordinator Cam Cameron, and junior college recruit Logan Stokes could step into the starting role over sophomore Dillon Gordon.


5. Ole Miss
Feed Moncrief became the mantra for the Ole Miss offense last season, which showed marked improvement from the 2011 squad. Sophomore Donte Moncrief emerged as one of the SEC’s top receivers last year, nabbing 66 receptions for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished 2012 on a tear, catching at least six passes in five out of the last six contests, which included back-to-back 100-yard performances against LSU and Mississippi State. Junior Vince Sanders and senior Ja-Mes Logan combined for 82 receptions last season and will flank Moncrief as the No. 2 and No. 3 options. The receiving corps got deeper over the offseason, as freshman Laquon Treadwell could earn some playing time this fall too. Treadwell ranked as the No. 1 receiver in the nation by Rivals.com in the 2013 signing class. Freshman A.J. Jackson may start over senior Jack Nuismer at tight end in 2013.


6. Texas A&M
Mike Evans broke onto the scene as a redshirt freshman last year, catching 82 passes for 1,105 yards and five scores. The Texas native caught at least four passes in every game in 2012 and is a second-team All-SEC selection by Athlon Sports for 2013. Having Evans back in the lineup is huge for Texas A&M, especially since Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu have expired their eligibility. Swope is the biggest loss for the receiving corps, as he made several tough catches in key moments throughout his career. But the cupboard is far from bare for coach Kevin Sumlin. Juniors LeKendrick Williams and Malcome Kennedy and senior Derel Walker provide quarterback Johnny Manziel with plenty of experience in the receiving corps. However, freshmen Ja’Quay Williams and Ricky Seals-Jones will be two players to watch this fall. The wild card at tight end to watch is former Tennessee Volunteer Cameron Clear, who spent last season at Arizona Western College.


7. Missouri
Much of Missouri’s ranking in this article hinges on the development of sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham. The No. 1 overall prospect in the 2012 Athlon Consensus 100, Green-Beckham caught 28 passes for 395 yards last season, with four of his five touchdowns coming over the final three games. With quarterback James Franklin a year removed from his shoulder surgery, Green-Beckham should be poised to easily outperform his 2012 totals. T.J. Moe will be missed, but Missouri has seniors Marcus Lucas and L’Damian Washington slated to anchor the other two starting spots in the receiving corps. Lucas led the team with 46 receptions for 509 yards last year.


8. South Carolina
The Gamecocks will miss the playmaking ability of Ace Sanders, but the unit has some steady weapons to lean on, including Bruce Ellington. The junior caught 40 passes for 600 yards and seven scores last year, including the game-winning 32-yard pass from Dylan Thompson in the Outback Bowl. But Ellington needs help if the Gamecocks are to reach the SEC championship game. Junior Damiere Byrd and sophomore Shaq Roland will be charged with taking a bigger role in the passing game this year. Junior Nick Jones and sophomore Shamier Jeffery are also expected to see more targets this year. Junior Rory Anderson and sophomore Jerell Adams will battle to replace Justice Cunningham as the team’s top tight end.


9. Florida
Considering the receivers that came through Gainesville in the 1990s under Steve Spurrier and the success of Percy Harvin under Urban Meyer, it’s a surprise to see the Gators struggle to develop a No. 1 option over the last few seasons. No Florida wide receiver has caught more than 40 passes since 2009, and the cupboard is relatively bare entering 2013. Quinton Dunbar is the team’s top returning receiver, but he averaged only 10.6 yards per catch last year. Andre Debose is still looking for his breakout season in his final year on campus. And the coaching staff hopes sophomore Latroy Pittman or true freshman Demarcus Robinson can give quarterback Jeff Driskel a go-to weapon on the outside. If the receiving corps struggles once again, cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy may be spending a good chunk of snaps on offense too.

10. Arkansas
Cobi Hamilton has expired his eligibility after capping off a solid career in the SEC with 90 receptions for 1,335 yards and five scores last year. With Hamilton gone, the Razorbacks will be looking for a new go-to target. Sophomore Mekale McKay showed promise by averaging 15.1 yards per reception in 2012. But McKay should have plenty of help from seniors Julian Horton, Demetrius Wilson and Javontee Herndon. Sophomore Keon Hatcher and true freshman tight end Hunter Henry are two names to watch this fall.


11. Auburn
There’s potential surrounding this group, but Auburn must settle its quarterback situation for this offense to improve from a disappointing 2012 season. But with Gus Malzahn returning to call the plays, the Tigers should have one of the most-improved offenses in the SEC. Quan Bray is the team’s top returning receiver with just 14 receptions, but the unit has interesting options in juniors Trovon Reed and Jaylon Denson, along with sophomore Ricardo Louis. Tight end C.J. Uzomah should surpass his 2012 totals: seven receptions for 136 yards and one score.


Related Content: College Football's Most-Improved Teams for 2013


12. Tennessee
With quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson departing for the NFL, the Volunteers are essentially starting over in the passing attack. New coach Butch Jones has one of the best offensive lines in the nation to build around, but Tennessee’s offense will be a work in progress. Devrin Young, Jacob Carter, Vincent Dallas and Pig Howard are the unit’s most experienced players, but none have played in a No. 1 or No. 2 role. True freshmen MarQuez North and Paul Harris, along with redshirt freshman Jason Croom are promising options and could be Tennessee’s starting trio by the end of 2013. 


13. Mississippi State
Much like Tennessee, the Bulldogs are essentially starting over at receiver. The top four pass-catchers from last year are gone, including Chad Bumphis and tight end Marcus Green. Junior Jameon Lewis will assume a bigger role in the passing attack after catching 10 passes last year. The 5-foot-9 receiver has excellent speed and 17 receptions through his first two years on campus. Junior Robert Johnson and sophomore Joe Morrow will likely round out the starting trio, but junior college recruit Jeremey Chappelle caught eight passes for 114 yards and one score in the Spring Game and should be a key part of the Mississippi State receiving corps this season.


14. Kentucky
New coordinator Neal Brown wants to implement a pass-first offense, but Kentucky is thin on proven weapons in the receiving corps. La’Rod King led the team with 48 catches last season but expired his eligibility at the end of 2012. Junior Demarco Robinson and sophomores A.J. Legree and Daryl Collins appear to have the inside track for starting spots, especially after DeMarcus Sweat left the team in June. Expect the Wildcats to give an extended look to freshmen Jeff Badet and Ryan Timmons, along with junior college recruit Javess Blue this fall. 

 

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Teaser:
<p> Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Wide Receivers</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 10:23
Path: /college-football/american-athletic-football-all-conference-team-2013
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The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-American Athletic teams for this season.

Related Content: American Athletic Conference Predictions for 2013

2013 American Athletic All-Conference Team

First-Team Offense

QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

RB Savon Huggins, Rutgers

RB Lyle McCombs, Connecticut

WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

WR DeVante Parker, Louisville

TE Alan Cross, Memphis

C Austin Reiter, South Florida

OG Austen Bujnoch, Cincinnati

OG Antwan Lowery, Rutgers

OT Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers

OT Eric Lefeld, Cincinnati



First-Team Defense

DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida

DE Jamil Merrell, Rutgers

DT Brandon Dunn, Louisville

DT Jordan Stepp, Cincinnati

LB Greg Blair, Cincinnati

LB Preston Brown, Louisville

LB Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut

CB Kenneth Acker, SMU

CB Deven Drane, Cincinnati

S Calvin Pryor, Louisville

S Hakeem Smith, Louisville


First-Team Specialists

K Tony Miliano, Cincinnati

P Richie Leone, Houston

KR Ralph David Abernathy IV, Cincinnati

PR J.J. Worton, UCF


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 American Athletic All-Conference Team

  First Second Third Overall
Cincinnati 7 0 5 12
Connecticut 2 2 2 6
Houston 1 4 1 6
Louisville 6 4 4 14
Memphis 1 3 3 7
Rutgers 5 4 1 10
SMU 1 0 3 4
South Florida 2 2 4 8
Temple 0 1 1 2
UCF 1 6 2 9


Second-Team Offense

QB Blake Bortles, UCF

RB Storm Johnson, UCF

RB Dominique Brown, Louisville

WR Deontay Greenberry, Houston

WR Breshad Perriman, UCF

TE Sean Price, South Florida

C Betim Bujari, Rutgers

OG Jordan McCray, UCF

OG Jake Smith, Louisville

OT Rowdy Harper, Houston

OT Torrian Wilson, UCF



Second-Team Defense

DE Martin Ifedi, Memphis

DE Marcus Smith, Louisville

DT Darius Hamilton, Rutgers

DT Shamar Stephen, Connecticut

LB DeDe Lattimore, South Florida

LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple

LB Derrick Mathews, Houston

CB Byron Jones, Connecticut

CB Zach McMillian, Houston

S Clayton Geathers, UCF

S Lorenzo Waters, Rutgers



Related Content: American Athletic Conference Predictions for 2013


Second-Team Specialists

K John Wallace, Louisville

P Tom Hornsey, Memphis

KR Jeremy Deering, Rutgers

PR Keiwone Malone, Memphis

 

Third-Team Offense

QB Brendon Kay, Cincinnati                                  

RB Senorise Perry, Louisville

RB Traylon Shead, SMU
  

WR Damian Copeland, Louisville

WR Andre Davis, South Florida
                                             
WR Jeremy Johnson, SMU                                                             
C Dan Sprague, Cincinnati                                              
OG Sam Longo, Cincinnati

OG John Miller, Louisville

OT Al Bond, Memphis

OT Quinterrius Eatmon, South Florida
                      

Third-Team Defense

DE Ryne Giddins, South Florida          

DE Deion Green, UCF          


DT E.J. Dunston, UCF

DT Johnnie Farms, Memphis          

LB Randall Joyner, SMU          

LB Jeff Luc, Cincinnati          

LB Jamal Merrell, Rutgers                                              

CB Terell Floyd, Louisville          

CB Anthony Robey, Temple          

S Mark Joyce, South Florida          

S Trevon Stewart, Houston

 

Third-Team Specialists

K Chad Christen, Connecticut            

P Cole Wagner, Connecticut          

KR Bobby McCain, Memphis          

PR Anthony McClung, Cincinnati
            

2013 American Athletic Conference Team Previews

Cincinnati Rutgers
Connecticut SMU
Houston South Florida
Louisville Temple
Memphis UCF


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Teaser:
<p> American Athletic Football All-Conference Team for 2013</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 07:31
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-most-improved-teams-2013
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Every college football season brings a few surprises. Whether it’s a team finishing in the top 10 that no one expected in the preseason or another program struggling to reach .500 after a successful stretch, each year presents many different case studies when trying to project teams for the upcoming season. And some teams are quick to rebound after a disappointing year to contend for a conference title or crack the top 25 once again.

Projecting which teams will fill those categories and show significant improvement is no easy task.

When it comes to judging improvement in college football, it doesn’t always come in the form of wins and losses. Improvement can simply come as a result of a team being more competitive within its conference and reducing the margin of defeat.

Kickoff for college football’s 2013 season is still a few months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about which teams will be some of the most improved in the nation.

Auburn had a disastrous 2012 season under Gene Chizik, but new coach Gus Malzahn should have the Tigers back in a bowl game. Another team that should see an improvement in its win total is Maryland. The Terrapins bring back only eight starters, but improved health at quarterback should help Randy Edsall’s team return to the postseason.

While Auburn and Maryland are two teams that should showcase their improvement in the win column, Colorado’s will come in a different form. For the Buffaloes, two victories in 2013 will represent improvement from last season. More importantly, this team under first-year head coach Mike MacIntyre should be considerably more competitive in Pac-12 play this fall.

College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013

Auburn

2012 Record: 3-9 (0-8 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense – 5, Defense – 9

What Went Wrong Last Year: Everything. After Gus Malzahn left to be the head coach at Arkansas State, Gene Chizik hired Scot Loeffler to coordinate the offense. The results were disastrous. Largely due to being miscast in a pro-style offense with spread personnel, the Tigers ranked last in the SEC by averaging 305 yards per game. The offense wasn’t solely to blame, as the defense ranked 13th in the SEC in yards allowed.

Why the Tigers Will Be Better: There’s talent in the program. Over the last eight years, Auburn has an average rank of 12th nationally in Athlon’s team recruiting rankings. Malzahn’s return should help spark an offense that was among the worst in the nation last year, especially as the Tigers return to a spread attack. Quarterback is still a question mark, but the offense has a capable one-two punch at running back with Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne, and the offensive line returns four starters. New defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson was one of the offseason’s top assistant hires and three talented incoming freshmen will bolster the defensive line.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Auburn: 6-6, 2-6 SEC
With home games against Washington State, Arkansas State, Western Carolina and FAU, Auburn should be 4-0 in non-conference play. Games at LSU and Texas A&M, along with home dates against Georgia and Alabama, are likely losses. However, matchups with Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Tennessee are winnable.

 

Colorado

2012 Record: 1-11 (1-8 Pac-12)

Returning Starters: Offense – 6, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: Colorado’s struggles started in spring practice, losing receiver Paul Richardson to a torn ACL. Without Richardson, the passing attack lacked its best playmaker and one of the Pac-12’s top receivers. The Buffaloes never found any consistency at quarterback, and the offensive line allowed 4.2 sacks a game. The defense was a disaster, allowing 46 points a game – the worst FBS performance in scoring defense since 2008. Due to injuries and overall struggles, Colorado was forced to play a handful of young players last season, but the experienced gained through the struggles should help this team in 2013 and beyond.

Why the Buffaloes Will Be Better: Simply, it’s hard for Colorado to be any worse. But there are signs the Buffaloes are moving in the right direction. New coach Mike MacIntyre was one of the top 10 hires of the offseason and should eventually return the Buffaloes to the postseason. Quarterback play is a question mark, but MacIntyre and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren played a key role in David Fales’ development at San Jose State. Running back Christian Powell had a solid freshman year, rushing for 691 yards and seven touchdowns. His return, along with Paul Richardson’s recovery from a torn ACL, should give the winner of the quarterback battle more weapons to work with in 2013. And while the defense could rank near the bottom of the Pac-12 again, it can’t be as bad as it was in 2012.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Colorado: 3-9, 1-8 Pac-12
The win total may not increase by much, but the Buffaloes will be a better team in 2013. Colorado State and Central Arkansas are must-wins to start the season, with a home game against California and a date at Utah representing possible upsets in Pac-12 play. Colorado isn’t likely to make a huge jump in wins, but the Buffaloes should be more competitive and will get better as the year progresses. If Connor Wood struggles early, how quickly will MacIntyre turn to incoming freshman Sefo Liufau at quarterback?
 

Indiana

2012 Record: 4-8 (3-5 Big Ten)

Returning Starters: Offense – 10, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: Considering Indiana improved its win total by three games from 2011 to '12, it’s hard to say things went drastically wrong. Instead, the Hoosiers showed signs of progress, leading the Big Ten in passing offense (311.2 yards per game) and coming within a couple of plays of making a bowl game (lost four games by four points or fewer). While the offense averaged 30.8 points a game, the defense was the team’s Achilles' heel. The Hoosiers allowed 463.5 yards a game and ranked last in the conference in points allowed.

Why the Hoosiers Will Be Better: Indiana’s performance on offense is even more impressive when you consider starting quarterback Tre Roberson was lost in the second game of the season with a leg injury. With Roberson back in the mix, the Hoosiers could be even more deadly on offense, especially with one of the Big Ten’s top receiving corps and an improving offensive line. While the defense won’t take a huge step forward in 2013, seven starters are back, and this unit has more upperclassmen with game experience than it did in 2012.    

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Indiana: 6-6, 3-5 Big Ten
Kevin Wilson certainly has Indiana moving in the right direction. After some close calls last year, the Hoosiers should be able to get over the hump and make a bowl game in 2013. The offense will be one of the most explosive in the Big Ten, and slight improvement should be expected on defense. The non-conference schedule isn’t easy, but Navy, Bowling Green and Indiana State should be victories, with Missouri visiting Bloomington in a key swing game. The Hoosiers have tough crossover games in Big Ten play with road trips to Michigan and Michigan State. However, Indiana hosts Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue, which should be three opportunities for wins in conference games.

 

Marshall

2012 Record: 5-7 (4-4 C-USA)

Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: Defense. The Thundering Herd averaged 40.9 points a game, yet failed to make a bowl game in Doc Holliday’s third season. The defense was one of the worst in the nation, allowing 43.1 points a game and ranking 101st nationally in yards allowed. Marshall struggled in close games, losing four games by a touchdown or less.

Why the Thundering Herd Will Be Better: Considering Marshall outgained its opponents in Conference USA play by 72.2 yards a game last year and was a minus-2 in turnover margin, the Thundering Herd were a little unlucky in 2012. Assuming the offense performs at a high level once again, Marshall should contend for the C-USA East title. Quarterback Rakeem Cato returns, and the receiving corps is bolstered by the addition of Penn State transfers Devon Smith and Shawney Kersey. New coordinator Chuck Heater should be a good addition for the defense, and that unit returns seven starters. With a new and improved scheme and most of the core returning for 2013, Marshall won’t be as bad on defense this fall. 

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Marshall: 8-5, 6-2 C-USA
With UCF, SMU, Memphis and Houston leaving for the American Athletic Conference, Marshall’s path to the C-USA title got a little easier. MTSU, FAU and FIU will join the Thundering Herd in the East Division, with FAU and FIU ranking near the bottom of Athlon’s rankings for 2013. Another scheduling factor working in Marshall’s favor: East Carolina visits Huntington on Nov. 29. 
 

Maryland

2012 Record: 4-8 (2-6 ACC)

Returning Starters: Offense – 4, Defense – 4

What Went Wrong Last Year: Injuries. The Terrapins lost four quarterbacks to injury last season and were forced to finish the year with converted linebacker Shawn Petty as their signal-caller. Not having a consistent passing attack hindered Maryland in close games, as it lost four contests by a touchdown or less and finished last in the ACC in total offense.

Why the Terrapins Will Be Better: Randy Edsall’s first season was a disaster. But despite the injuries at quarterback, the second year brought a two-game improvement in the win column and a handful of close losses. The Terrapins are in better shape at quarterback for 2013, as C.J. Brown is back from a torn ACL, and Ricardo Young is eligible after transferring from New Mexico. Stefon Diggs is one of the nation’s best all-around threats, and the offense features some promising playmakers at running back in Wes Brown and Brandon Ross. The defense finished third in the ACC and 21st nationally in yards allowed but must replace seven starters in 2013.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Maryland: 7-5, 4-4 ACC
The defense needs to be rebuilt, but Maryland has a favorable schedule and should return to a bowl game for the first time since 2010. The Terrapins should start the year 3-0 with matchups against FIU, Old Dominion and Connecticut, with West Virginia the swing game of their non-conference slate. Road games against Florida State and Virginia Tech are likely losses, but Maryland doesn’t play North Carolina, Georgia Tech or Miami in crossover play and hosts Boston College, Syracuse and Virginia – three crucial swing games – in College Park. 


Miami

2012 Record: 7-5 (5-3 ACC)

Returning Starters: Offense – 8, Defense – 4

What Went Wrong: Off-the-field distractions and NCAA investigations aside, Miami’s biggest issue last year was on defense. And frankly, it wasn’t pretty. The Hurricanes ranked last in the ACC against the run, as well as both yards and points allowed. Miami gave up 366 points last year, which was the most in school history.

Why the Hurricanes Will Be Better: With eight starters back, the Hurricanes should have one of the best offenses in the ACC. Adapting to new coordinator James Coley will be a challenge for quarterback Stephen Morris, but running back Duke Johnson should be in the mix for All-American honors, and the offensive line is solid with all five starters returning. The defense still has issues, but there’s no way this unit can be as bad as it was last year.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Miami: 9-4, 6-2 ACC
Miami hasn’t had a double-digit win season since 2003 and is just 20-17 over the last three years. There’s no question the program has slipped recently, but the Hurricanes seem to be trending up entering 2013. Assuming there’s a seamless transition from Jedd Fisch to James Coley at offensive coordinator, Miami’s offense should exceed last year’s totals. The defense is in need of major repair, but there are pieces to build around, including end Anthony Chickillo, linebacker Denzel Perryman and safety Deon Bush.  The schedule is more favorable in 2013, especially since Notre Dame and Kansas State are gone from the non-conference slate. With Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech traveling to Miami this year, the ACC Coastal title will likely run through Sun Life Stadium.
 

South Florida

2012 Record: 3-9 (1-6 Big East)

Returning Starters: Offense – 3, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: Just like Auburn: Everything. Despite successful stints at Connecticut and East Carolina, Skip Holtz was never able to push the right buttons at South Florida. The Bulls lost five games by a touchdown or less in 2011 and never seemed to recover for '12. South Florida won its first two games and then lost six consecutive matchups before a win over Connecticut in early November. An injury to quarterback B.J. Daniels slowed the offense, and despite having seven starters back on defense, the Bulls finished seventh in the Big East in yards and points allowed last season. 

Why the Bulls Will Be Better: South Florida’s decision to hire Willie Taggart from Western Kentucky was one of the best coaching moves of the offseason. Taggart helped to turn the Hilltoppers from a struggling FBS program to a bowl team in 2012. It will take some time for Taggart to rebuild the depth on the Bulls' roster, but he has some pieces to work with in 2013. The offense received a boost with the transfer of Penn State quarterback Steven Bench, and the defense will be bolstered by former Notre Dame defensive end Aaron Lynch, who is eligible after sitting out last season as a result of transfer rules. South Florida will also have help from a weaker schedule, which replaces Florida State, Syracuse and Pittsburgh – three losses last year – with FAU, SMU and Memphis – three very winnable games.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for South Florida: 7-5, 5-3 American
Taggart’s arrival is just what South Florida needs. The Bradenton, Fla., native will bring some much-needed energy and toughness to the program. The Bulls have a ways to go in order to move to the top of the American Athletic Conference. However, the pieces are in place to make a trip to a bowl game, especially with a more favorable conference slate, as well as two non-conference wins against McNeese State and FAU. 


TCU

2012 Record: 7-6 (4-5 Big 12)

Returning Starters: Offense – 5, Defense – 9

What Went Wrong Last Year: Considering all that transpired for TCU, it’s hard to say anything went wrong. The Horned Frogs made a successful transition from a non-BCS league to one of the toughest conferences in college football. And despite the loss of quarterback Casey Pachall before midseason, TCU went 7-6 and won at Texas for the first time since 1967. There were a couple of areas of concern for the Horned Frogs, as the rushing attack ranked eighth in the Big 12, and the offensive line allowed 2.2 sacks a game. 

Why the Horned Frogs Will Be Better: Now that TCU has a year under its belt in the Big 12, it should be more familiar with its opponents and tendencies. Add the fact coach Gary Patterson is one of the best in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs will be a tougher out for the rest of the conference. Pachall is back under center and should help to bolster TCU’s passing attack. Although the rushing attack was a concern last year, B.J. Catalon turned in a solid freshman campaign, Waymon James is back from injury, and Nebraska transfer Aaron Green is eligible after sitting out a year due to NCAA rules. The defense must replace end Stansly Maponga, but nine starters are back, including likely All-American end Devonte Fields.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for TCU: 8-4, 6-3 Big 12
It’s possible TCU will be a better team, but it could still struggle to improve its win total. The Horned Frogs have a challenging schedule, which features a non-conference game against LSU, along with road trips to Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Assuming Pachall quickly recaptures the form that watched him throw for 2,921 yards in 2011, TCU’s offense should easily improve on last year’s numbers. Even though Fields will miss the first two games of the year due to a suspension, he should be one of the Big 12’s top defenders. A difficult schedule presents a challenge for TCU. But Patterson and his staff have proven over and over again they are up to the task.
 

USC

2012 Record: 7-6 (5-4 Pac-12)

Returning Starters: Offense – 8, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: The Trojans were widely considered one of the top five teams in the nation last preseason. Yet, USC finished with a disappointing 7-6 mark, which included a 1-5 stretch to close the season. An injury to starting quarterback Matt Barkley slowed the offense late in the year, but the Trojans’ biggest problem was a defense that ranked eighth in the Pac-12 against the run and allowed 394 yards per game.

Why the Trojans Will Be Better: Despite the loss of Barkley and center Khaled Holmes, USC should be solid on offense. Whether it's Max Wittek, Cody Kessler or Max Browne starting at quarterback, the passing attack will be fine, largely due to the return of junior receiver Marqise Lee and tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble. And there’s depth at running back with Silas Redd, Justin Davis and Ty Isaac competing for carries. New coordinator Clancy Pendergast should be a good fit for a defense that returns seven starters. Pendergast plans on implementing a 5-2 scheme, which will take advantage of USC’s talent on the defensive line.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for USC: 9-4, 6-3 Pac-12
Could this be it for coach Lane Kiffin? If USC goes 7-5 again, the calls for a coaching change will only get louder. However, there’s reason for optimism in 2013. The Trojans outgained their opponents by 69.7 yards per game last year but struggled in the turnover department. The schedule is more favorable this season, as USC misses Oregon and hosts UCLA and Stanford. Winning a division title is certainly within reach. But USC needs to settle on a quarterback, as well as continue to improve its offensive line and secondary as the year progresses. 


Washington State

2012 Record: 3-9 (1-8 Pac-12)

Returning Starters: Offense – 6, Defense – 8

What Went Wrong Last Year: The transition from Paul Wulff to Mike Leach didn’t go exactly as planned. The Cougars scored two surprisingly close non-conference wins against UNLV and Eastern Washington and upset rival Washington in the season finale to finish 3-9. Leach was supposed to inject some life into the offense, but the Cougars finished 94th nationally in yards per game and 106th in points. The defense shared in the struggles, allowing 425.9 yards per contest. The problems for Washington State were even deeper than the stats on offense and defense showed, as the offensive line allowed 4.8 sacks a game, and the Cougars ranked 101st nationally in turnover margin.

Why the Cougars Will Be Better: As with any coach entering his second season, you expect to see some type of uptick in production with more familiarity when it comes to schemes. That should hold true for Washington State, especially with Leach calling the plays. The Cougars have one of the nation’s worst rushing attacks, but having another offseason to allow quarterback Connor Halliday to work as the No. 1 passer should help this offense. Halliday will also have plenty of options to choose from a stocked receiving corps. With eight starters back on defense, Washington State should be able push for a finish in the top six of the Pac-12 in total and scoring defense. Although the Cougars lost nine games last year, three of those – including matchups against Stanford and UCLA – came by eight points or less.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Washington State: 4-8, 2-7 Pac-12
Just like last season, Washington State should go 2-1 in non-conference play. However, Wazzu's Pac-12 schedule sets up more favorably. The Cougars do have to travel to California, but the Golden Bears – much like Washington State – are rebuilding. With home games against Oregon State and Utah visiting Pullman, Mike Leach’s team will have a chance to pull an upset or two. Progress and winning games may take a little longer than most expected for Leach. However, Washington State seems to be on the right track and should be more competitive in the Pac-12 this year.


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Mountain West Predictions for 2013
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SEC Predictions for 2013
Sun Belt Predictions for 2013

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 08:10
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2013-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Big 12 teams for this season.

Related Content: Big 12 Predictions for 2013

2013 All-Big 12 Team

First-Team Offense

QB Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State

RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor

RB James Sims, Kansas

FB Trey Millard, Oklahoma

WR Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State

WR Eric Ward, Texas Tech

C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma

OG Trey Hopkins, Texas

OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor

OT Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State

OT Daryl Williams, Oklahoma



First-Team Defense

DE Devonte Fields, TCU

DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

DT Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State

DT Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech

LB Bryce Hager, Baylor

LB Ben Heeney, Kansas

LB Jordan Hicks, Texas

CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma

CB Jason Verrett, TCU

S Sam Carter, TCU

S Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State



First-Team Specialists

K Jaden Oberkrom, TCU

P Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State

KR Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

PR Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-Big 12 Team

  First Second Third Overall
Baylor 3 5 3 11
Iowa State 1 0 2 3
Kansas 2 0 0 2
Kansas State 3 2 3 8
Oklahoma 4 2 6 12
Oklahoma State 4 5 2 11
TCU 4 3 3 10
Texas 3 5 1 9
Texas Tech 2 3 3 8
West Virginia 0 1 3 4


Second-Team Offense

QB Casey Pachall, TCU

RB Johnathan Gray, Texas

RB Jeremy Smith, Oklahoma State

WR Mike Davis, Texas

WR Tevin Reese, Baylor

TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

C BJ Finney, Kansas State

OG Parker Graham, Oklahoma State

OG Mason Walters, Texas

OT Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech

OT Spencer Drango, Baylor



Related Content: Big 12 Predictions for 2013


Second-Team Defense

DE Dartwan Bush, Texas Tech

DE Chris McAllister, Baylor

DT James Castleman, Oklahoma State

DT Chucky Hunter, TCU

LB Eddie Lackey, Baylor

LB Caleb Lavey, Oklahoma State

LB Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State

CB Carrington Byndom, Texas

CB Quandre Diggs, Texas

S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia



Second-Team Specialists

K Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma

P Ethan Perry, TCU

KR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

PR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma



Third-Team Offense

QB Blake Bell, Oklahoma

RB John Hubert, Kansas State

RB Damien Williams, Oklahoma

WR Brandon Carter, TCU

WR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma

WR Jaxon Shipley, Texas

C Tom Farniok, Iowa State

OG Adam Shead, Oklahoma

OG Keenan Taylor, Kansas State

OT Quinton Spain, West Virginia

OT Cody Whitehair, Kansas State



Third-Team Defense

DE Will Clarke, West Virginia

DE Terrance Lloyd, Baylor

DT Chuka Ndulue, Oklahoma

DT Davion Pierson, TCU

LB Isaiah Bruce, West Virginia

LB Jeremiah George, Iowa State

LB Corey Nelson, Oklahoma

CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

CB Joe Williams, Baylor

S Daytawion Lowe, Oklahoma State

S Elisha Olabode, TCU



Third-Team Specialists

K Ryan Bustin, Texas Tech

P Ryan Erxleben, Texas Tech

KR Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech

PR Levi Norwood, Baylor


2013 Big 12 Team Previews

Baylor Oklahoma State
Iowa State TCU
Kansas Texas
Kansas State Texas Tech
Oklahoma West Virginia

 

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Big 12 Predictions for 2013
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Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 07:45
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-all-sophomore-team-2013
Body:

Projecting the all-conference and All-America teams is a staple of any college football preseason preview. And after projecting those teams for 2013, it’s clear college football has a stockpile of talent in its sophomore ranks.

Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel stole the spotlight by winning the Heisman Trophy last year, but Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley also had outstanding years as redshirt freshmen.

Quarterback is not the only position with young talent, however. When it comes to running back, look no further than likely All-America selections Todd Gurley and T.J. Yeldon, who are set to lead the ground attack for two of college football’s top teams.

Projecting an all-conference, all-sophomore or all-freshman team is never easy. In order to compile this team, some projection was used for how the players would play in 2013, their stats from 2012, recruiting ranks and projection for the NFL. To put it another way, this is not a list just based on last year’s stats. 

First-Team Offense

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB Todd Gurley, Georgia
RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
All-Purpose Duke Johnson, Miami
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
TE Kyle Carter, Penn State
C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
G Dan Feeney, Indiana
G Max Tuerk, USC
T Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
T John Theus, Georgia


First-Team Defense

DE Devonte Fields, TCU
DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida
DT Issac Gross, Ole Miss
DT Leonard Williams, USC
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
CB Jalen Mills, LSU
CB KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame
S Josh Harvey-Clemons, Georgia
S Karl Joseph, West Virgin
ia
 

First-Team Specialists

K Ross Martin, Duke
P Ethan Perry, TCU


Related Content: College Football's 2013 All-America Team

Second-Team Offense

QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
All-Purpose DJ Foster, Arizona State
WR Davante Adams, Fresno State
WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland
TE Devin Funchess, Michigan
C Jake Brendel, UCLA
G Jordan Rigsbee, California
G Trai Turner, LSU
T Andrus Peat, Stanford
T Cody Whitehair, Kansas State


Second-Team Defense

DE Deion Barnes, Penn State
DE Noah Spence, Ohio State
DT Jaxon Hood, Arizona State
DT Davion Pierson, TCU
LB Isaiah Bruce, West Virginia
LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
LB Antonio Morrison, Florida
CB Alex Carter, Stanford
CB Nick VanHoose, Northwestern
S Landon Collins, Alabama
S Chris Hackett, TCU


Second-Team Specialists

K Austin Lopez, San Jose State
P Tyler Williams, Marshall


Related Content: College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 1-125


Third-Team Offense

QB Brett Hundley, UCLA
RB Johnathan Gray, Texas
RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
RB Keith Marshall, Georgia
WR Quinshad Davis, North Carolina
WR J.D. McKissic, Arkansas State
C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
G Jack Allen, Michigan State
G Ted Karras, Illinois
T Spencer Drango, Baylor
T Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah


Third-Team Defense

DE Mario Edwards Jr., Florida State
DE Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
DT Arik Armstead, Oregon
DT Xavier Cooper, Washington State
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
LB Jabari Hunt-Days, Georgia Tech
LB James Ross III, Michigan
CB Blake Countess, Michigan
CB Ronald Darby, Florida State
S Travis Blanks, Clemson
S Deon Bush, Miami

 

Third-Team Specialists

K Jared Oberkrom, TCU
P Will Monday, Duke

 

Honorable Mention

Quarterbacks: Michael Brewer, Texas Tech; Tre Roberson, Indiana; Daniel Sams, Kansas State; Travis Wilson, Utah

Running Backs: Byron Marshall, Oregon; Matt Jones, Florida; Brandon Williams, Oklahoma; Trey Williams, Oklahoma, Storm Woods, Oregon State

Wide Receivers: Bralon Addison, Oregon; Nelson Agholor, USC; Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri; Deontay Greenberry, Houston; Chris Harper, California; Gabe Marks, Washington State; Alonzo Russell, Toledo; Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma; Jaime Wilson, Western Michigan

Tight Ends: Pharoh Brown, Oregon; Alan Cross, Memphis; Jake Phillips, UNLV; Sean Price, USF, Kent Taylor, Florida

Offensive Tackle: Vadal Alexander, LSU; Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech; Aviante Collins, TCU; Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati; Ereck Flowers, Miami; Simon Goines, UCLA; D.J. Humphries, Florida; Ryker Mathews, BYU; Kyle Murphy, Stanford; Brandon Shell, South Carolina; Jason Spriggs, Indiana; Donovan Smith, Penn State; Torian White, UCLA

Offensive Guard: Zach West, Kentucky

Center: Austin Blythe, Iowa; Evan Boehm, Missouri; Dillon Day, Mississippi State; Robert Kugler, Purdue; Mike Matthews, Texas A&M

Defensive End: DeForest Buckner, Oregon; Jonathan Bullard, Florida; Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State; Dante Fowler, Florida; Eli Harold, Virginia; Julien Obioha, Texas A&M; John Taylor, Georgia

Defensive Tackle: Malcom Brown, Texas; Darian Cooper, Iowa; Christian Covington, Rice; Eddie Goldman, Florida State; Darius Hamilton, Rutgers; Javonte Magee, Baylor; Ellis McCarthy, UCLA; Ondre Pipkins, Michigan

Linebackers: Kwon Alexander, LSU; Denzel Devall, Alabama; Travis Feeney, Washington; Cory James, Colorado State; Peter Jinkens, Texas; Raphael Kirby, Miami, Tyler Matakevich, Temple; Mason Monheim, Illinois; Darryl Monroe, Washington State; Otha Peters, Arkansas; Dalton Santos, Texas; David Santos, Nebraska

Cornerbacks: Kenneth Crawley, Colorado; Ronald Darby, Florida State; Sheldon Dawson, Georgia; Lorenzo Doss, Tulane; De’Vante Harris, Texas A&M; Tracy Howard, Miami; Stefan McClure, California; Lafayette Pitts, Pittsburgh; Darion Monroe, Tulane; Geno Smith, Alabama; Kevon Seymour, USC; Trae Waynes, Michigan State; Zac Whitfield, North Texas

Safety: Dante Barnett, Kansas State; Kevin Byard, MTSU; Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires, Army; D.J. Hunter, Marshall; Justin Simmons, Boston College; Trevon Stewart, Houston
 

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Pac-12 Predictions for 2013
SEC Predictions for 2013
Sun Belt Predictions for 2013

Teaser:
<p> College Football's All-Sophomore Team for 2013</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 15:51
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Mountain West, News
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2013-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-Mountain West teams for this season.

Related Content: Mountain West Predictions for 2013

2013 Mountain West All-Conference Team

First-Team Offense

QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

RB Kasey Carrier, New Mexico

RB Adam Muema, San Diego State

WR Davante Adams, Fresno State

WR Noel Grigsby, San Jose State

TE Marcel Jensen, Fresno State

C Tyler Larsen, Utah State

OG LaMar Bratton, New Mexico

OG Nicholas Kaspar, San Jose State

OT Charles Leno, Boise State

OT Austin Wentworth, Fresno State



First-Team Defense

DE Brock Hekking, Nevada

DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State

DT Tyeler Davison, Fresno State

DT Travis Raciti, San Jose State

LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State

LB Jake Fely, San Diego State

LB Keith Smith, San Jose State

CB Sean Alston, Fresno State

CB Bene Benwikere, San Jose State

S Nat Berhe, San Diego State

S Derron Smith, Fresno State



First-Team Specialists

K Nolan Kohorst, UNLV

P Ben Skaer, New Mexico

KR Chase Clayton, New Mexico

PR Scott Harding, Hawaii


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-Mountain West Team

  First Second Third Overall
Air Force 0 2 1 3
Boise State 2 5 1 8
Colorado State 0 3 5 8
Fresno State 7 1 3 11
Hawaii 1 2 2 5
Nevada 1 3 2 6
New Mexico 4 0 1 5
San Diego State 3 3 1 7
San Jose State 5 2 2 9
UNLV 1 1 2 4
Utah State 2 1 4 7
Wyoming 0 3 2 5


Second-Team Offense

QB David Fales, San Jose State

RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State

RB Tim Cornett, UNLV

WR Matt Miller, Boise State

WR Brandon Wimberly, Nevada

TE Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State

C Matt Paradis, Boise State

OG Dave Lefotu, Hawaii

OG Tyler Strong, Wyoming

OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada

OT Eric Schultz, Utah State



Second-Team Defense

DE Alex Hansen, Air Force

DE Andy Jennings, Fresno State

DT Sam Meredith, San Diego State

DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Boise State

LB Shaq Barrett, Colorado State

LB Derek Largent, San Diego State

LB Art Laurel, Hawaii

CB Shaq Bell, Colorado State

CB Blair Burns, Wyoming

S Jeremy Ioane, Boise State

S Christian Spears, Air Force



Second-Team Specialists

K Austin Lopez, San Jose State

P Chase Tenpenney,  Nevada

KR Colin Lockett, San Diego State

PR Blair Burns, Wyoming


Third-Team Offense


QB Chuckie Keeton, Utah State

RB Donnell Alexander, Colorado State

RB Jon Lee, Air Force

WR Devante Davis, UNLV

WR Robert Herron, Wyoming

TE Gabe Linehan, Boise State

C Weston Richburg, Colorado State

G Jamie Markosian, Utah State

G Cody Wichmann, Fresno State

T Brett Boyko, UNLV

T Bryce Quigley, San Diego State


Third-Team Defense

DE Lenny Jones, Nevada

DE Tavita Woodard, Hawaii

DT Patrick Mertens, Wyoming

DT Jack Reynoso, Nevada

LB Dallas Bollema, New Mexico

LB Jake Doughty, Utah State

LB Cory James, Colorado State

CB L.J. Jones, Fresno State

CB Nevin Lawson, Utah State

S John Hardy-Tuliau, Hawaii

S Trent Matthews, Colorado State

 

Third-Team Specialists

K Jared Roberts, Colorado State

P Harrison Waid, San Jose State

KR Tyler Ervin, San Jose State

PR Isaiah Burse, Fresno State


2013 Mountain West Team Previews

Mountain Division West Division
Air Force Fresno State
Boise State Hawaii
Colorado State Nevada
New Mexico San Diego State
Utah State San Jose State
Wyoming UNLV


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Teaser:
<p> Mountain West Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 12:45
Path: /college-football/college-football-2013-all-america-team
Body:

Picking a college football All-American team is no easy task. Some positions are deeper than others, while it's also difficult to project how a player will perform with the losses or additions around them.

The SEC leads the way with 24 overall selections across Athlon's four All-America teams. However, the Pac-12 isn't far behind with 23 selections. 

With that in mind, it's time to unveil Athlon's 2013 All-America Team.

Related: Athlon's 2013 All-American Team as Recruits
 

Athlon Sports' 2013 All-America Team

First-Team Offense

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (SO)

RB Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona (JR)

RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (SO)

WR Marqise Lee, USC (SO)

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson (JR)

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington (JR)

C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma (SR)

T Cyril Richardson, Baylor (SR)

T Jake Matthews, Michigan (SR)

G Cyril Richardson, Baylor (SR)

G David Yankey, Stanford (SR)

AP De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon (JR)




First-Team Defense

DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (JR)

DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (JR)

DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame (JR)

DT Will Sutton, Arizona State (SR)

LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama (SR)

LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (JR)

LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU (SR)

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon (JR)

CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State (JR)

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama (JR)

S Ed Reynolds, Stanford (JR)




First-Team Specialists

K Cairo Santos, Tulane (SR)

P Kyle Christy, Florida (JR)

KR Duke Johnson, Miami (SO)

PR Venric Mark, Northwestern (SR)



Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-America Team

  First Second Third Fourth Overall
ACC 2 1 3 8 14
American 0 0 2 2 4
Big 12 3 6 4 5 18
Big Ten 4 4 4 4 16
Conference USA 1 0 1 0 2
Independents 3 0 1 0 4
MAC 0 0 1 0 1
Mountain West 0 0 1 1 2
Pac-12 8 7 5 3 23
SEC 6 9 5 4 24
Sun Belt 0 0 0 0 0


Second-Team Offense

QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State (JR)

RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor (JR)

RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (SO)

WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (SO)

WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (SR)

TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia (SR)

C Travis Swanson, Arkansas (SR)

G Spencer Long, Nebraska (SR)

G Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA (SR)

T Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (JR)

T Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (JR)

AP Kain Colter, Northwestern (SR)




Second-Team Defense

DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State (JR)

DE Devonte Fields, TCU (SO)

DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State (JR)

DT Anthony Johnson, LSU (JR)

LB Anthony Barr, UCLA (SR)

LB Trent Murphy, Stanford (SR)

LB Shayne Skov, Stanford (SR)

CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma (SR)

CB Jason Verrett, TCU (SR)

S Dion Bailey, USC (JR)

S Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State (SR)




Second-Team Specialists

K Jeff Budzien, Northwestern (SR)

P Kirby Van Der Camp, Iowa State (SR)

KR Marqise Lee, USC (JR)

PR Marcus Murphy, Missouri (JR)




Third-Team Offense

QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson (SR)

RB Duke Johnson, Miami (SO)

RB Venric Mark, Northwestern (SR)

WR Davante Adams, Fresno State (SO)

WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M (SO)

TE Chris Coyle, Arizona State (SR)

C Hroniss Grasu, Oregon (JR)

G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (SR)

G Anthony Steen, Alabama (SR)

T James Hurst, North Carolina (SR)

T Zack Martin, Notre Dame (SR)

AP Dri Archer, Kent State (SR)




Third-Team Defense

DE Morgan Breslin, USC (SR)

DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida (SO)

DT Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State (SR)

DT Leonard Williams, USC (SO)

LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin (SR)

LB Max Bullough, Michigan State (SR)

LB Shaq Thompson, Washington (SO)

CB Quandre Diggs, Texas (JR)

CB Andre Hal, Vanderbilt (SR)

S Craig Loston, LSU (SR)

S Hakeem Smith, Louisville (SR)




Third-Team Specialists

K Chris Boswell, Rice (SR)

P Mike Sadler, Michigan State (JR)

KR Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (SR)

PR Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State (SR)




Fourth-Team Offense

QB AJ McCarron, Alabama (SR)

RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska (JR)

RB Bishop Sankey, Washington (JR)

WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State (JR)

WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland (SO)

TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina (JR)

C BJ Finney, Kansas State (JR)

G Andrew Norwell, Ohio State (SR)

G Tre’ Jackson, Florida State (JR)

T Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State (SR)

T Jack Mewhort, Ohio State (SR)

AP Charles Sims, West Virginia (SR)




Fourth-Team Defense

DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas (SR)

DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State (JR)

DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh (SR)

DT Dominique Easley, Florida (SR)

LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (JR)

LB Christian Jones, Florida State (SR)

LB Yawin Smallwood, UConn (JR)

CB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State (SR)

CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (JR)

S Deone Bucannon, Washington State (SR)

S Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State (SR)




Fourth-Team Specialists

K Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson (SR)

P Richie Leone, Houston (SR)

KR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State (JR)

PR Rashad Greene, Florida State (JR)


Related College Football Content

All-ACC Team for 2013
All-American Athletic Team for 2013

All-Big 12 Team for 2013

All-Big Ten Team for 2013

All-Conference USA Team for 2013

All-MAC Team for 2013

All-Mountain West Team for 2013

All-Pac-12 Team for 2013

All-SEC Team for 2013

All-Sun Belt Team for 2013

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2013 All-America Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 11:36
Path: /college-football/pac-12-football-2013-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Pac-12 teams for this season.

Related Content: Pac-12 Predictions for 2013
 

2013 All-Pac-12 Team

First-Team Offense

QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

RB Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona

RB Bishop Sankey, Washington

WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

WR Marqise Lee, USC

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

C Hroniss Grasu, Oregon

OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

OG David Yankey, Stanford

OT Jake Fisher, Oregon

OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon

AP De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon


First-Team Defense

DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State

DE Morgan Breslin, USC

DT Will Sutton, Arizona State

DT Leonard Williams, USC

LB Anthony Barr, UCLA

LB Trent Murphy, Stanford

LB Shayne Skov, Stanford

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

CB Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State

S Dion Bailey, USC

S Ed Reynolds, Stanford


First-Team Specialists

K Trevor Romaine, Oregon State

P Darragh O’Neill, Colorado

KR Marqise Lee, USC

PR Shaquelle Evans, UCLA



The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-Pac-12 Team

 FirstSecondThirdOverall
Arizona1124
Arizona State1348
California0213
Colorado1023
Oregon63413
Oregon State4329
Stanford44210
UCLA3328
USC5409
Utah0022
Washington2226
Washington State0134

 

Second-Team Offense

QB Brett Hundley, UCLA

RB Marion Grice, Arizona State

RB Silas Redd, USC

WR Shaquelle Evans, UCLA

WR Kasen Williams, Washington

TE Chris Coyle, Arizona State

C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State

OG Kevin Danser, Stanford

OG Max Tuerk, USC

OT Cameron Fleming, Stanford

OT Michael Philipp, Oregon State


Second-Team Defense

DE Ben Gardner, Stanford

DE Taylor Hart, Oregon

DT Deandre Coleman, California

DT George Uko, USC

LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA

LB Hayes Pullard, USC

LB Shaq Thompson, Washington

CB Alex Carter, Stanford

CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon

S Deone Bucannon, Washington State

S Alden Darby, Arizona State


Second-Team Specialists

K Vince D’Amato, California

P Keith Kostol, Oregon State

KR De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon

PR Richard Morrison, Arizona


Third-Team Offense

QB Taylor Kelly, Arizona State

RB Brendan Bigelow, California

RB Storm Woods, Oregon State

WR Josh Huff, Oregon

WR Paul Richardson, Colorado

TE Colt Lyerla, Oregon

C Jake Brendel, UCLA

OG Daniel Munyer, Colorado

OG Grant Enger, Oregon State

OT Evan Finkenberg, Arizona State

OT Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah


Third-Team Defense

DE Henry Anderson, Stanford

DE Cassius Marsh, UCLA

DT Wade Keliikipi, Oregon

DT Danny Shelton, Washington

LB Brian Blechen, Utah

LB Carl Bradford, Arizona State

LB Jake Fischer, Arizona

CB Osahon Irabor, Arizona State

CB Jonathan McKnight, Arizona

S Sean Parker, Washington

S Jordan Richards, Stanford

 

Third-Team Specialists

K Andrew Furney, Washington State

P Michael Bowlin, Washington State

KR Teondray Caldwell, Washington State

PR Bralon Addison, Oregon

 

2013 Pac-12 Team Previews

NorthSouth
CaliforniaArizona
OregonArizona State
Oregon StateColorado
StanfordUCLA
WashingtonUSC
Washington StateUtah

 

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College Football's Top 25 Teams for 2013
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College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 101-125
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Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 15:03
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-2013-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Big Ten teams for this season.

Related Content: Big Ten Predictions for 2013

First-Team Offense

QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State

RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

RB Venric Mark, Northwestern

WR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin

WR Allen Robinson, Penn State

TE Kyle Carter, Penn State

C Corey Linsley, Ohio State

OG Spencer Long, Nebraska

OG Andrew Norwell, Ohio State

OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio State



First-Team Defense

DE Deion Barnes, Penn State

DE Noah Spence, Ohio State

DT Beau Allen, Wisconsin

DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota

LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin

LB Max Bullough, Michigan State

LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State

S Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern

S Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State



First-Team Specialists

K Jeff Budzien, Northwestern

P Mike Sadler, Michigan State

KR Jordan Cotton, Iowa

PR Venric Mark, Northwestern


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-Big Ten Team

 FirstSecondThirdOverall
Illinois0022
Indiana0123
Iowa1315
Michigan1168
Michigan State4239
Minnesota1012
Nebraska2327
Northwestern4408
Ohio State73212
Penn State 3238
Purdue0314
Wisconsin35311


Second-Team Offense

QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska

RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

RB James White, Wisconsin

WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska

WR Cody Latimer, Indiana

TE Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin

C Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern

OG Ryan Groy, Wisconsin

OG John Urschel, Penn State

OT Fou Fonoti, Michigan State

OT Jeremiah Sirles, Nebraska


 

Second-Team Defense

DE Tyler Scott, Northwestern

DE Adolphus Washington, Ohio State

DT Bruce Gaston, Purdue

DT DaQuan Jones, Penn State

LB Denicos Allen, Michigan State

LB James Morris, Iowa

LB Damien Proby, Northwestern

CB Ricardo Allen, Purdue

CB Nick Vanhoose, Northwestern

S C.J. Barnett, Ohio State

S Christian Bryant, Ohio State



Second-Team Specialists

K Mike Meyer, Iowa

P Cody Webster, Purdue

KR Dennis Norfleet, Michigan

PR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin



Related Content: Big Ten Predictions for 2013


Third-Team Offense

QB Devin Gardner, Michigan

RB Mark Weisman, Iowa

RB Zach Zwinak, Penn State

WR Corey Brown, Ohio State

WR Jeremy Gallon, Michigan

TE Ted Bolser, Indiana

C Travis Jackson, Michigan State

OG Dan Feeney, Indiana

OG Dan France, Michigan State

OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa

OT Donovan Smith, Penn State


Third-Team Defense

DE Frank Clark, Michigan

DE Marcus Rush, Michigan State

DT Ethan Hemer, Wisconsin

DT Thad Randle, Nebraska

LB Jonathan Brown, Illinois

LB Mike Hull, Penn State

LB James Ross III, Michigan

CB Blake Countess, Michigan

CB Ciante Evans, Nebraska

S Dezmen Southward, Wisconsin

S Brock Vereen, Minnesota



Third-Team Specialists

K Brendan Gibbons, Michigan

P Justin Duvernois, Illinois

KR Akeem Hunt, Purdue

PR Jordan Hall, Ohio State


 

2013 Big Ten Team Previews

Leaders DivisionLegends Division
IllinoisIowa
IndianaMichigan
Ohio StateMichigan State
Penn StateMinnesota
PurdueNebraska
WisconsinNorthwestern


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Teaser:
<p> Athlon gives its picks for the 2013 All-Big Ten team.</p>
Post date: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 12:12
Path: /college-football/mac-football-2013-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-MAC teams for this season.

Related Content: MAC Predictions for 2013

2013 All-MAC Team

First-Team Offense

QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

RB Dri Archer, Kent State

RB David Fluellen, Toledo

WR Bernard Reedy, Toledo

WR Willie Sneed, Ball State

TE Zane Fakes, Ball State

C Zac Kerin, Toledo

OG Dominic Flewellyn, Bowling Green

OG Jordan Hansel, Ball State

OT Ryan Brown, Northern Illinois

OT Ryan McGrath, Ohio



First-Team Defense

DE Jonathan Newsome, Ball State

DE Colby Way, Buffalo

DT Roosevelt Nix, Kent State

DT Nathan Ollie, Ball State

LB Desmond Bozeman, Western Michigan

LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

LB Gabe Martin, Bowling Green

CB Dayonne Nunley, Miami (Ohio)

CB Cameron Truss, Bowling Green

S Boo Boo Gates, Bowling Green

S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois



First-Team Specialists

K Jeremiah Detmer, Toledo

P Brian Schmiedebusch, Bowling Green

KR Dri Archer, Kent State

PR Bernard Reedy, Toledo



The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-MAC Team

  First Second Overall
Akron 0 0 0
Ball State 5 3 8
Bowling Green 5 2 7
Buffalo 2 1 3
Central Michigan 0 3 3
Eastern Michigan 0 0 0
Kent State 3 2 5
Miami (Ohio) 1 0 1
Northern Illinois 3 5 8
Ohio 1 3 4
Toledo 5 3 8
UMass 0 1 1
Western Michigan 1 3 4



Second-Team Offense

QB Keith Wenning, Ball State

RB Beau Blankenship, Ohio

RB Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan

WR Alex Neutz, Buffalo

WR Jaime Wilson, Western Michigan

TE Alex Bayer, Bowling Green

C Andrew Ness, Northern Illinois

OG Greg Mancz, Toledo

OG Pat McShane, Kent State

OT Jake Olson, Central Michigan

OT John Prior, Ohio



Related Content: MAC Predictions for 2013


Second-Team Defense

DE Jayrone Elliott, Toledo

DE Joe Windsor, Northern Illinois

DT Ken Bishop, Northern Illinois

DT Ted Ouellet, Bowling Green

LB Jamaal Bass, Northern Illinois

LB Justin Cherocci, Central Michigan

LB Keith Moore, Ohio

CB Cheatham Norrils, Toledo

CB Eric Patterson, Ball State

S Justin Currie, Western Michigan

S Luke Wollett, Kent State



Second-Team Specialists

K Matthew Sims, Northern Illinois

P Colter Johnson, UMass

KR Jamill Smith, Ball State

PR Jaime Wilson, Western Michigan


2013 MAC Team Previews

East Division West Division
Akron Ball State
Bowling Green Central Michigan
Buffalo Eastern Michigan
Kent State Northern Illinois
Miami (Ohio) Toledo
Ohio Western Michigan
UMass  

 


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MAC Predictions for 2013
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College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 41-60

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College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 101-125

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College Football's Top 50 Running Backs of BCS Era

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College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era

Teaser:
<p> MAC Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/sun-belt-football-2013-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-Sun Belt teams for this season.

Related Content: Sun Belt Predictions for 2013

Athlon's 2013 All-Sun Belt Team

First-Team Offense

QB Kolton Browning, ULM

RB Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky

RB David Oku, Arkansas State

WR Je’Ron Hamm, ULM

WR J.D. McKissic, Arkansas State

TE Wes Saxton, South Alabama

C Andre Huval, UL Lafayette

OG Steven Haunga, Arkansas State

OG Daniel Quave, UL Lafayette

OT Mykhael Quave, UL Lafayette

OT Joseph Treadwell, ULM



First-Team Defense

DE Alex Page, South Alabama

DE Christian Ringo, UL Lafayette

DT Kentarius Caldwell, ULM

DT Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas State

LB Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky

LB Qushaun Lee, Arkansas State

LB Michael Orakpo, Texas State

CB Xavier Daniels, Texas State

CB Tyree Robinson, Western Kentucky

S Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky

S Isaiah Newsome, ULM



First-Team Specialists

K Brian Davis, Arkansas State

P Will Scott, Troy

KR Jafus Gaines, Texas State

PR Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-Sun Belt Team

  First Second Overall
Arkansas State 6 4 10
Georgia State 0 1 1
South Alabama 2 3 5
Texas State 3 2 5
Troy 1 3 4
UL Lafayette 4 5 9
ULM 5 4 9
Western Kentucky 5 4 9


Second-Team Offense

QB Terrance Broadway, UL Lafayette

RB Jyruss Edwards, ULM

RB Alonzo Harris, UL Lafayette

WR Jamal Robinson, UL Lafayette

WR Eric Thomas, Troy

TE Mitchell Henry, Western Kentucky

C Sean Conway, Western Kentucky

OG Jon Fisher, ULM

OG Cliff Mitchell, Arkansas State

OT Cameron Clemmons, Western Kentucky

OT Melvin Meggs*, South Alabama



* Meggs suffered a season-ending injury in June and will miss the 2013 season.


Second-Team Defense

DE Eddie Porter, Arkansas State

DE Chris Stone, Arkansas State

DT Justin Hamilton, UL Lafayette

DT D.J. Yendrey, Texas State

LB Justin Anderson, UL Lafayette

LB Cameron Blakes, ULM

LB Enrique Williams, South Alabama

CB Vincent Eddie, ULM

CB Tyrell Pearson, South Alabama

S Chris Pickett, Troy

S Sterling Young, Arkansas State



Second-Team Specialists

K Will Scott, Troy

P Matt Hubbard, Georgia State

KR Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky

PR Andy Erickson, Texas State

 

2013 Sun Belt Team Previews

Arkansas State Troy
Georgia State UL Lafayette
South Alabama UL Monroe
Texas State Western Kentucky

 


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College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 101-125

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Teaser:
<p> Sun Belt Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Friday, June 14, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/texas-am-takes-playful-jab-alabama-nick-saban
Body:

Considering it’s college football’s offseason, anything that happens on the news circuit is generally blown out of proportion.

However, it’s generally not a good idea to poke the bear. Right? Did the SEC miss the memo?

Well, the rest of the SEC certainly seems to be having some fun at Alabama’s expense this offseason. The Crimson Tide has claimed back-to-back titles and is the favorite to win in 2013. Yet, coach Nick Saban has been the brunt of the jokes by Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis earlier this offseason.

And Texas A&M got into the act on Thursday night, as athletic director Eric Hyman lobbed a playful joke in Alabama’s direction:

 

After Hyman made his playful jab, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin had this to say:


But of course, the fun didn't end there. Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin had a humorous response to a tweet from radio personality Paul Finebaum:
 

 

Needless to say, the expectations in Aggieland are sky high for 2013. 

And let's keep this in mind: It's the offseason and Hyman and Loftin's remarks are just two ways of firing up a Texas A&M fanbase that has plenty of reasons to be excited after an 11-2 campaign in 2012.

But here's the good news: Alabama and Texas A&M play on Sept. 14 - which should be one of college football's top games of 2013.
 

 

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College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers of BCS Era

College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era

Teaser:
<p> Texas A&amp;M's Eric Hyman and R. Bowen Loftin take playful jabs at Alabama and Nick Saban.</p>
Post date: Friday, June 14, 2013 - 07:50
Path: /college-football/sec-football-2013-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second, third and fourth All-SEC teams for this season.

Related Content: SEC Predictions for 2013

First-Team Offense

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

RB Todd Gurley, Georgia

RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama

WR Amari Cooper, Alabama

WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia

C Travis Swanson, Arkansas

OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State

OG Anthony Steen, Alabama

OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M



First-Team Defense

DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

DE Chris Smith, Arkansas

DT Dominique Easley, Florida

DT Anthony Johnson, LSU

LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia

LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee

LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama

CB Andre Hal, Vanderbilt

CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

S Craig Loston, LSU


First-Team Specialists

K Carey Spear, Vanderbilt

P Kyle Christy, Florida

KR Andre Debose, Florida

PR Marcus Murphy, Missouri


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-SEC Team

  First Second Third Fourth Overall
Alabama 6 2 1 5 14
Arkansas 2 1 2 0 5
Auburn 0 2 1 2 5
Florida 4 1 2 3 10
Georgia 3 2 3 1 9
Kentucky 0 1 2 0 3
LSU 2 1 2 3 8
Mississippi State 1 2 3 0 6
Missouri 1 1 1 1 4
Ole Miss 0 4 2 3 9
South Carolina 1 2 0 4 7
Tennessee 1 2 2 1 6
Texas A&M 2 2 4 2 10
Vanderbilt 3 3 1 1 8

 

Second-Team Offense

QB AJ McCarron, Alabama

RB Keith Marshall, Georgia

RB LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State

WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M

WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss

TE Rory Anderson, South Carolina

C James Stone, Tennessee

OG Chris Burnette, Georgia

OG Aaron Morris, Ole Miss

OT Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt

OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee



Second-Team Defense

DE Bud Dupree, Kentucky

DE C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss

DT Byran Jones, Arkansas

DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina

LB Lamin Barrow, LSU

LB Adrian Hubbard, Alabama

LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

CB Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M

CB Marcus Roberson, Florida

S Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt

S Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State



Second-Team Specialists

K Cody Parkey, Auburn

P Steven Clark, Auburn

KR Marcus Murphy, Missouri

PR Jonathan Krause, Vanderbilt

 

Related Content: SEC Predictions for 2013


Third-Team Offense

QB Aaron Murray, Georgia

RB Ben Malena, Texas A&M

RB Tre Mason, Auburn

WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU

WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia

TE Malcolm Johnson, Mississippi State

C Ryan Kelly, Alabama

OG Jon Halapio, Florida

OG Jarvis Harrison, Texas A&M

OT Ja'Waun James, Tennessee

OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M



Third-Team Defense

DE Denico Autry, Mississippi State

DE Walker May, Vanderbilt

DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee

DT Donte Rumph, Kentucky

LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State

LB Antonio Morrison, Florida

LB Avery Williamson, Kentucky

CB E.J. Gaines, Missouri

CB Damian Swann, Georgia

S Eric Bennett, Arkansas

S Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss



Third-Team Specialists

K Zach Hocker, Arkansas

P Tyler Campbell, Ole Miss

KR Trey Williams, Texas A&M

PR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU


Fourth-Team Offense

QB Connor Shaw, South Carolina

RB Jeremy Hill, LSU

RB Jeff Scott, Ole Miss

WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri

WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina

TE OJ Howard, Alabama

C Jonotthan Harrison, Florida

OG A.J. Cann, South Carolina

OG Zach Fulton, Tennessee

OT La’El Collins, LSU

OT John Theus, Georgia



Fourth-Team Defense

DE Dee Ford, Auburn

DE Dante Fowler, Florida

DT Isaac Gross, Ole Miss

DT Brandon Ivory, Alabama

LB Trey DePriest, Alabama

LB Chase Garnham, Vanderbilt

LB Steven Jenkins, Texas A&M

CB Jalen Mills, LSU

CB Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss

S Demetruce McNeal, Auburn

S Jaylen Watkins, Florida



Fourth-Team Specialists

K Taylor Bertolet, Texas A&M

P Cody Mandell, Alabama

KR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina

PR Christion Jones, Alabama


 

2013 SEC Team Previews

East Division West Division
Florida Alabama
Georgia Arkansas
Kentucky Auburn
Missouri LSU
South Carolina Mississippi State
Tennessee Ole Miss
Vanderbilt Texas A&M


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Teaser:
<p> SEC Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 07:21
Path: /college-football/acc-football-2013-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-ACC teams for this season.

Related Content: ACC Predictions for 2013

Note: Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum was not projected on an all-conference team due to the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury for the 2013 season.
 

Athlon’s 2013 All-ACC Team

First-Team Offense

QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB Duke Johnson, Miami

RB Jerome Smith, Syracuse

WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina

C Bryan Stork, Florida State

OG Tre’ Jackson, Florida State

OG Brandon Linder, Miami

OT James Hurst, North Carolina

OT Brandon Thomas, Clemson



First-Team Defense

DE James Gayle, Virginia Tech

DE Kareem Martin, North Carolina

DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

LB Christian Jones, Florida State

LB Quayshawn Nealy, Georgia Tech

LB Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech

CB Ross Cockrell, Duke

CB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

S Kyshoen Jarrett, Virginia Tech

S Jason Hendricks, Pittsburgh



First-Team Specialists

K Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson

P Will Monday, Duke

KR Duke Johnson, Miami

PR Rashad Greene, Florida State


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-ACC Team

  First Second Third Overall
Boston College 0 2 2 4
Clemson 4 0 5 9
Duke 2 1 1 4
Florida State 6 3 2 11
Georgia Tech 1 6 1 8
Maryland 2 0 0 2
Miami 3 2 3 8
North Carolina 3 4 1 8
NC State 0 0 3 3
Pittsburgh 2 0 0 2
Syracuse 1 0 2 3
Virginia 0 4 0 4
Virginia Tech 3 1 3 7
Wake Forest 0 2 3 5


Second-Team Offense

QB Bryn Renner, North Carolina

RB Kevin Parks, Virginia

RB James Wilder Jr., Florida State

WR Alex Amidon, Boston College

WR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest

TE Jake McGee, Virginia

C Russell Bodine, North Carolina

OG Shaquille Mason, Georgia Tech

OG Josue Matias, Florida State

OT Cameron Erving, Florida State

OT Morgan Moses, Virginia



Second-Team Defense

DE Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

DE Anthony Chickillo, Miami

DT Derrick Hopkins, Virginia Tech

DT Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest

LB Jabari Hunt-Days, Georgia Tech

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College

CB Demetrious Nicholson, Virginia

CB Jemea Thomas, Georgia Tech

S Tre Boston, North Carolina

S Isaiah Johnson, Georgia Tech



Second-Team Specialists

K Ross Martin, Duke

P Tommy Hibbard, North Carolina

KR Stefon Diggs, Maryland

PR Jamal Golden, Georgia Tech


Related Content: ACC Predictions for 2013


Third-Team Offense

QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

RB Roderick McDowell, Clemson

RB David Sims, Georgia Tech

WR Quinshad Davis, North Carolina

WR Rashad Greene, Florida State

TE Nick O'Leary, Florida State

C Shane McDermott, Miami

OG Laken Tomlinson, Duke

OG Ian White, Boston College

OT Rob Crisp, NC State

OT Seantrel Henderson, Miami



Third-Team Defense

DE Vic Beasley, Clemson

DE Art Norman, NC State

DT Jay Bromley, Syracuse

DT T.Y. McGill, NC State

LB Dyshawn Davis, Syracuse

LB Justin Jackson, Wake Forest

LB Spencer Shuey, Clemson

CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest

S Travis Blanks, Clemson

S Deon Bush, Miami



Third-Team Specialists

K Cody Journell, Virginia Tech

P Alex Kinal, Wake Forest

KR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

PR Spiffy Evans, Boston College



Note: Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum was not projected on an all-conference team due to the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury for the 2013 season.


2013 ACC Team Previews

Atlantic Coastal
Boston College Duke 
Clemson Georgia Tech
Florida State Miami
Maryland  North Carolina
NC State  Pittsburgh
Syracuse Virginia
Wake Forest  Virginia Tech

 

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Teaser:
<p> ACC Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 07:50
Path: /college-football/pac-12-football-2013-predictions
Body:
2013 Pac-12 Predictions    
North Division Pac-12 Overall
1. Oregon 8-1 12-1
2. Stanford 7-2 10-2
3. Oregon State 5-4 8-4
4. Washington 4-5 7-5
5. California 3-6 4-8
6. Washington State 2-7 4-8
       
South Division    
1. Arizona State 6-3 8-5
2. USC 6-3 9-4
3. UCLA 5-4 8-4
4. Arizona 4-5 7-5
5. Utah 3-6 5-7
6. Colorado 1-8 3-9
       
Pac-12 Championship    
Oregon over Arizona State    

A coaching transition has worked well for Stanford in recent years. Will that be the same theme at Oregon?

That’s the big question surrounding the Pac-12 in 2013.

New Oregon coach Mark Helfrich has been handed the keys to a team capable of winning a national title. But Helfrich has never been a head coach, and former coach Chip Kelly was one of the best in the nation. Helping Helfrich’s transition is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Marcus Mariota, along with dynamic running back De’Anthony Thomas.

Although Stanford hosts Oregon this year, the Cardinal rank No. 2 in Athlon’s projected Pac-12 standings for 2013. The Cardinal should have the league’s best defense. But the offense has no proven playmakers at receiver or tight end, and running back Stepfan Taylor will be missed.

Whether it’s Oregon or Stanford, the winner of the Pac-12 North should be one of the top contenders for the national title.

Oregon State improved its win total by six games last year and returns 15 starters. The biggest question for the Beavers is at defensive tackle, while finding consistency from the quarterback spot.

Washington has been unable to win more than seven games in a season under Steve Sarkisian, and despite a talented roster, the schedule is a huge challenge once again.

Arizona State is Athlon’s pick to win the Pac-12 South in 2013. The Sun Devils should have one of the conference’s best front sevens on defense and will be explosive on offense with the return of quarterback Taylor Kelly and running backs Marion Grice and DJ Foster. The schedule is also in favor of Arizona State, as Todd Graham’s team misses Oregon in conference play and hosts USC and Arizona.

After beginning 2012 as one of the favorites to win the national championship, USC is flying under the radar entering 2013. The Trojans have the talent to be a top-25 team and could win the Pac-12 South. However, the battle to replace quarterback Matt Barkley did not yield a clear frontrunner in the spring and will continue into the fall.

UCLA is the back-to-back defending champions of the Pac-12 South, but the Bruins are slated at No. 3 in Athlon’s predictions for 2013. Quarterback Brett Hundley is back, and the defense has one of the top linebacking corps in the Pac-12. The biggest question mark for UCLA is an offensive line that has very little depth, and a schedule that features crossover games against Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks.

Arizona is making progress under second-year coach Rich Rodriguez, but the Wildcats are probably a year away from contending in the Pac-12 South. Arizona needs to improve its defense, while finding a replacement for quarterback Matt Scott.

Colorado and Utah round out the Pac-12 South predictions. The Buffaloes should be better in coach Mike MacIntyre’s first season, while the Utes look to get back to a bowl game after just missing out on one last year (5-7). 

Inside the War Room: Key Questions That Shaped Athlon's 2013 Predictions

Stanford is the defending Pac-12 champ and won at Oregon last year. Why are the Cardinal picked to finish No. 2 in the Pac-12 North?

Stanford won the league last year, but Oregon was the better team throughout the entire 2012 season. The Ducks dominated all but one Pac-12 opponent — yes, that was Stanford — winning their league games by an average of 32.5 points per game. Stanford, on the other hand, had several close calls. Five of the Cardinal’s eight league wins came by seven points or less, including two in overtime. We realize that the goal is to win the game (not necessarily win by 32.5 points), but margin of victory matters over the course of a season when you are assessing the strength of a team. Looking ahead to 2013, both teams will be outstanding. The big issue with Oregon will be the coaching transition from Chip Kelly to Mark Helfrich. Stanford’s big concern is identifying some playmakers at running back and wide receiver. The Cardinal also have the more difficult schedule; they host Oregon but have to play the three best teams, on paper, in the South (Arizona State, USC and UCLA). Oregon doesn’t play either USC or Arizona State. Advantage: Ducks.

What gives Arizona State the edge in the South?

You can make a case for any of the top four teams in the Pac-12 South. Ultimately, we picked Arizona State because the Sun Devils have the fewest issues heading into the 2013 season. They are set at quarterback with Taylor Kelly, solid at running back and on the offensive line, and the defense, led by Will Sutton, should be strong once again. And it doesn’t hurt that Arizona State hosts USC and Arizona and doesn’t play Oregon, our pick to the win the Pac-12 North.

Is this the year Washington crashes through the seven-win plateau and contends in the North?

Steve Sarkisian made an immediate splash at Washington, energizing the fan base by winning five games (including a win over USC) in his first season. Most expected UW to emerge as a perennial Pac-12 contender under Sark’s watch. Hasn’t happened. The Huskies haven’t been bad, but Washington fans aren’t impressed with 7–6 seasons — which have become the norm in Seattle. So is this the year Washington takes the next step? Our guess is no. We like the marked improvement on defense last year, and there is solid talent at the skill positions. But the offensive line is a concern, and quarterback Keith Price regressed in 2012. Even if UW improves overall, a brutal schedule could make it difficult for this team to hit the magical eight-win mark. 

Can Mike Leach make Washington State relevant in Year 2?

We made the assumption at this time last year that Washington State would make a drastic improvement under Mike Leach in his first season. We were wrong. The Cougars were among the worst BCS conference teams in the nation in 2012, stumbling to a 3–9 overall record and a 1–8 mark in the Pac-12. Things will be better in Pullman in Year 2, but Wazzu is still at least a year away from being consistently competitive in the improving Pac-12. There was some talk about picking the Cougars fifth in the North, ahead of California, but this team has too many concerns — on both sides of the ball — to finish anywhere but last.

Who makes a bigger impact in Year 1 — Sonny Dykes at Cal or Mike MacIntyre at Colorado?

Both were outstanding hires, and we believe both coaches will do well in time. In the short term, MacIntyre has the more difficult job. Colorado’s talent level has sunk to pre-Bill McCartney levels, and it will take several years before the Buffs can be consistently competitive in the Pac-12. Cal has some issues, but Dykes is inheriting a more talented roster. We aren’t forecasting a big turnaround in Berkeley, but the Bears are far more likely to exceed expectations in 2013.
 

2013 Pac-12 Team Previews

North South
California Arizona
Oregon Arizona State
Oregon State Colorado
Stanford UCLA
Washington USC
Washington State Utah


Pac-12 Notebook

Soft landings 
Unimaginative best describes the Pac-12 non-conference football schedule, which is greatly watered down, whether by design or chance. Marquee matchups made for national TV are few this season, even with Notre Dame playing three league members (USC, Stanford, Arizona State).

Of the 33 outside teams taking on the Pac-12, 16 come off losing records in 2012. Nine had two victories or fewer. Six were last-place teams. Just nine hail from the so-called power conferences. Their combined record last season was 201–204.

Consider Oregon’s unimposing slate — Nicholls State (1–10), Virginia (4–8) and Tennessee (5–7). Washington State faces the following: Auburn (3–9), Southern Utah (5–6) and Idaho (1–11). Washington opens with challenging Boise State (11–2), but then plays Illinois (2–10) and Idaho State (1–10). Only rebuilding California will show real backbone early, taking on Big Ten contenders Northwestern (10–3) and Ohio State (12–0) sandwiched around Portland State (3–8).
 

Directing the Ducks 
Oregon doesn’t require thick résumés or nationwide searches when it needs a new football coach — it promotes its offensive coordinator. For 20 years this system has worked well, with the job changing hands from Rich Brooks to Mike Bellotti to Chip Kelly and now Mark Helfrich. Yet the question now surrounding Helfrich is this: Can he and his retooled staff continue to recruit like crazy, run up points at even crazier levels and keep winning at unprecedented program levels?

Helfrich might be the least dynamic personality when compared to his predecessors. Also, he once deemed himself unworthy to play for Oregon, rejecting an offer to come to Eugene as a walk-on quarterback and flourishing at lower-level Southern Oregon instead.

“Luckily for Duck fans, I was never allowed to play in Autzen Stadium,” Helfrich said in a light manner at his hiring. “Coach Brooks and Coach Bellotti at that time made a very good evaluation.”
 

Most-watched job battle 
The Oregon State quarterback competition between junior Sean Mannion and senior Cody Vaz promises to be intense and lengthy. It might not be settled until shortly before the Beavers’ Aug. 31 opener against Eastern Washington.

Last season, Mannion started eight games and Vaz five games for the 9–4 Beavers. Mannion threw for 2,446 yards and 15 touchdowns, Vaz for 1,480 and 11. Mannion was the first-teamer to open the season, Vaz to close it. Each was alternately good and bad. 

“It’s a matter of who comes out of it with the most consistency, the best play, and that might take some time,” OSU coach Mike Riley says.
 

Runners reverse field 
Stanford and UCLA each unexpectedly welcomed back a senior running back who left for a season and reconsidered. The Cardinal reclaimed Tyler Gaffney, who rushed for 449 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2011. He is back at Stanford after spending the 2012 season in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization, where he hit .297 as an outfielder for the Class A State College (Pa.) Spikes.

“I have come to realize how much I missed my football family and how much I missed the game,” Gaffney said.

The Bruins added Malcolm Jones, former prep Gatorade National Player of the Year. He quit after carrying the ball just three times in the 2012 opener against Rice, but asked coach Jim Mora if he could come back. He has returned as a walk-on without a scholarship.

Said Mora of Jones, “He came in and said, ‘I think I made a mistake and was hasty in my judgment and I’d like to return to the team.’ … I have not made him any promises.”
 

Pac-12 gypsy 
That Dennis Erickson would resurface as Utah co-offensive coordinator really shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s now worked for one-fourth of the conference members, previously serving as head coach for Washington State (1987-88), Oregon State (1999-2002) and Arizona State (2007-11).  Erickson, 66, also has worked in two other Pac-12 cities as an NFL head coach with Seattle (1995-98) and San Francisco (2003-04).
 

Husky homecoming 
Washington, after playing a season of home games elsewhere (at Seahawks’ Qwest Field) for the first time in 92 years, returns to a renovated Husky Stadium on Aug. 31 against Boise State. Two-thirds of the lakeside facility was torn down and rebuilt for roughly $261 million. Luxury suites and seating closer to the field are the biggest additions.


Coordinator Carousel

Arizona State

Co-Defensive Coordinator
Old: Ron West; New: Chris Ball
West left Arizona State to coach linebackers and serve as the co-defensive coordinator at North Carolina. Ball was promoted to co-defensive coordinator with Paul Randolph after serving as the Sun Devils’ safeties coach and defensive passing game coordinator.
 

California

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Jim Michalczik; New: Tony Franklin
Michalczik, who had been a part of Jeff Tedford’s staff for nine of the past 11 years, landed a job in the Pac-12 as the offensive line coach at Arizona. Tony Franklin made the move from Louisiana Tech with new Cal coach Sonny Dykes.

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Clancy Pendergast; New: Andy Buh
Pendergast was not retained by the new staff but was hired as the defensive coordinator at USC. He has also been a DC with two NFL teams. Buh was the linebackers coach at Wisconsin last year. He was the defensive coordinator at Nevada from 2010-11 and the co-DC at Stanford from 2008-09.
 

Colorado

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Eric Bieniemy; New: Brian Lindgren
Bieniemy, the former star at Colorado, was not retained by the new staff. He is now the running backs coach with the Kansas City Chiefs. Lindgren was on new Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre’s staff last season at San Jose State in the same capacity. The Spartans set 27 offensive records in his only season at San Jose State.

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Greg Brown; New: Kent Baer
Brown was hired by Alabama to coach the secondary. Baer was the defensive coordinator at San Jose State the past three seasons. He also has experience as a DC at Washington (2005-07), Notre Dame (2002-04), Stanford (1995-2001), Arizona State (1992-94), California (1987-91), Idaho (1986) and Utah State (1983-85).
 

Oregon

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Mark Helfrich; New: Scott Frost
Helfrich is now the head coach at Oregon but is expected to call plays for the Ducks. Frost was promoted from his job as the Ducks’ wide receivers coach from 2009-12.
 

Stanford

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Pep Hamilton; New: Mike Bloomgren
Hamilton is now the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, where he will work with former Stanford QB Andrew Luck. Bloomgren was the run game coordinator and offensive line coach at Stanford for the previous two seasons.
 

USC

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Kennedy Polamalu; New: Clay Helton
Polamalu was dismissed two days after National Signing Day and has not landed a new job. Helton had been on the USC staff as the quarterbacks coach from 2010-12 and also served as the passing game coordinator in 2012. 
 

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Monte Kiffin; New: Clancy Pendergast
Kiffin “resigned” after four seasons working for his son, one at Tennessee and three at USC. He is now the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Pendergast was the DC at Pac-12 rival California last year.


Utah

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Brian Johnson; New: Brian Johnson, Dennis Erickson
Erickson was out of coaching last year after getting fired following the 2011 season at Arizona State. He previously was the head coach on the collegiate level at Idaho (twice), Oregon State, Miami, Washington State and Wyoming.
 

 

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Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Football 2013 Predictions</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 07:10
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2013-predictions
Body:
Big 12 2013 Predictions Big 12 Overall
1. Oklahoma State 7-2 10-2
2. Oklahoma 7-2 9-3
3. Texas 6-3 9-3
4. TCU 6-3 8-4
5. Kansas State 5-4 8-4
6. Baylor 5-4 8-4
7. Texas Tech 4-5 7-5
8. West Virginia 3-6 6-6
9. Iowa State 2-7 5-7
10. Kansas 0-9 3-9
       

The Big 12 is the toughest BCS conference to predict for 2013.

With the departure of most of the league’s top quarterbacks from 2012, there’s no clear favorite for first-team All-Big 12 honors, which also leads to uncertainty as to the conference’s No. 1 team.

Oklahoma State is Athlon’s pick to win the Big 12, but a strong case could be made for Oklahoma, Texas, TCU, Kansas State and Baylor. The Cowboys lost three of their Big 12 games by a touchdown or less last year, and Clint Chelf is settled at quarterback after the transfer of Wes Lunt. Joseph Randle will be missed at running back, but Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland is a capable one-two punch.

Blake Bell replaces Landry Jones as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback, and all eyes will be watching to see if the Belldozer can transition from a part-time to full-time offense. The Sooners have plenty of weapons around Bell, which should help to ease the transition of the new quarterback. Oklahoma’s biggest issue is a defense that returns only four starters and is very thin on depth on the line.

Texas may have the Big 12’s most-talented team, but the Longhorns are just 11-15 in the conference over the past three years. If quarterback David Ash continues to make strides as a passer, and the defense proves it can stop the run, Texas could win the Big 12. 

TCU, Kansas State and Baylor are all worthy of top-25 consideration. The Horned Frogs regain the services of quarterback Casey Pachall and return nine starters on defense. However, the schedule is very challenging with road dates at Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Kansas State. Baylor must reload at quarterback, but the defense made progress late in the year, and running back Lache Seastrunk should be one of the nation’s best. Kansas State lost a handful of key players, but Bill Snyder always keeps the Wildcats in Big 12 title contention.

With Kliff Kingsbury returning to Lubbock, Texas Tech could be the Big 12’s most-interesting team in 2013. If quarterback Michael Brewer picks up where Seth Doege left off, the Red Raiders should have one of the league’s top offenses once again.

West Virginia has a massive rebuilding project on offense, as quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin must be replaced. The defense ranked last in the Big 12 in points allowed last year and was a major focus throughout the offseason. 

Iowa State is projected to fall just short of bowl eligibility, but the Cyclones shouldn’t be counted out for the postseason. Kansas will be relying on a handful of junior college transfers to spur improvement. However, winning a game or two in Big 12 play could hinge on how good BYU transfer quarterback Jake Heaps performs.

Inside the War Room: Key Questions That Shaped Athlon's 2013 Predictions

Texas has a talented roster. Why are the Longhorns picked third in the Big 12?

Texas might have the highest ceiling of any Big 12 team, but it’s hard to jump on the Longhorns’ bandwagon based on their recent history of underachieving. They have been average at best at the quarterback position in the past three seasons, and their defense was record-setting bad in 2012. The roster is loaded with 4- and 5-star talent

How did the projected Big 12 champion end up outside the top 15?

We knew that it would be difficult to sort out the top four teams in the Big 12. We also knew that for the first time in recent memory the team that we picked to win this league wasn’t going to be in the discussion to be our preseason No. 1 team in the nation. Simply put: The Big 12 has solid depth in 2013, but it’s unlikely that any team in the league will emerge as a legitimate national title contender. Oklahoma State, our pick to win the conference, is ranked No. 16 overall — the lowest we have ranked a preseason Big 12 favorite in the 17-year history of the league.

Can West Virginia survive the loss of so much talent on offense?

It’s going to be tough. West Virginia lost a ton of firepower — its starting quarterback and two 1,200-yard receivers — from a team  that struggled down the stretch in 2012. Dana Holgorsen should find a way to piece together a respectable offense, despite the personnel losses, but the Mountaineer defense will have a tough time — once again — slowing down the high-powered offenses in the Big 12. It could be a long year in Morgantown.

Doesn’t Kansas State deserve the benefit of the doubt?

You’d think that we would have learned our lesson after picking Kansas State to finish ninth and sixth, respectively, the past two seasons. And even though Bill Snyder has made a habit of exceeding expectations at Kansas State, the 2013 Wildcats might have a tough time elbowing their way into the top four of the Big 12. The offense should be in decent shape, even with the loss of Heisman finalist Collin Klein. Daniel Sams, the backup QB last fall, is an ideal fit for the K-State attack. The defense is the big concern. The Cats must replace nine starters from a unit that gave up 24 points or more in five of its last six games. Kansas State, at least on paper, looks like a fringe top-25 team at best.

Texas has a talented roster. Why are the Longhorns picked third in the Big 12?

Texas might have the highest ceiling of any Big 12 team, but it’s hard to jump on the Longhorns’ bandwagon based on their recent history of underachieving. They have been average at best at the quarterback position in the past three seasons, and their defense was record-setting bad in 2012. The roster is loaded with 4- and 5-star talent, but there is nothing to suggest that this will be the season that Mack Brown gets things turned around. Sure, Texas will be good — we are predicting a 9–3 record in the regular season — but Texas fans want more than good. They want a national championship. And that doesn’t appear likely in 2013.

How did Casey Pachall’s return factor into TCU’s ranking?

Pachall is a huge part of the equation at TCU. Had he played the entire season (and played well), it’s very likely that the Horned Frogs would have been our pick to win the Big 12 in 2013. But he didn’t play the entire season. He only made it through four games before taking time off to deal with a substance abuse problem. He was back with the team in the spring and is expected to reclaim his role as the starting quarterback, but there are no guarantees that he will return to form. TCU can still be a very good team with Trevone Boykin at quarterback, but to be elite, the Horned Frogs need Pachall, the more gifted passer, to take the majority of the snaps in 2013.


2013 Big 12 Team Previews

Baylor Oklahoma State
Iowa State TCU
Kansas Texas
Kansas State Texas Tech
Oklahoma West Virginia


Big 12 Notebook

OU Soaring Above Big 12 
Oklahoma was in a state of rebuilding when the Big 12 Conference was born in the mid-’90s. Then Bob Stoops rolled into Norman. And the Sooners have been rolling ever since. After sharing last season’s conference championship with Kansas State, OU has won eight Big 12 titles: 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012.

That’s five more than No. 2 Texas. Since 2000, the Sooners are 87–19 in Big 12 play, good for an .821 winning percentage. The Longhorns are next at .745 (79–27).

Nationally during that span, among BCS conferences, OU owns the best conference winning percentage, followed by Ohio State at .788, Texas, Virginia Tech at .740 and Oregon at .739.
 

New-LOOK Attack
Last year, Longhorns coach Mack Brown was talking tough, pushing the promise of smash-mouth offense and ground-it-out game plans as the way back to prominence for his program.

Well, that didn’t last long. After last season’s shift in philosophy, Texas has a new direction: play fast and loose.

It’s an approach Brown has seen work for conference foes like Oklahoma State, Baylor and West Virginia. And it’s something he saw — and liked — from his own squad in rally mode against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, when the Longhorns went no-huddle, up-tempo in the second half of a 31–27 comeback victory.

“It was invaluable,” Brown told reporters in the spring. “It was really, really important to send the message to our fans, our kids and our recruits that we’re still fighting.”
 

Cowboys On The Road, Again 
For Oklahoma State, major facility renovations have enhanced Boone Pickens Stadium to the point that players and coaches enjoy all the comforts of home — and then some.

So forgive the Cowboys if they get a little homesick.

OSU ended the 2012 season with a road trip and will open 2013 away from home for multiple weeks again, a span of five games. For a program now used to winning and winning big, that’s an unusual schedule quirk. And it’s partly why Cowboys coach Mike Gundy flirted in the job market with openings at Tennessee and Arkansas, trying to gain more control of who and where his team plays.

OSU had little to say about the way 2012 ended, with visits to Oklahoma and Baylor, followed by an appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. But Gundy was opposed to playing Mississippi State in Houston, preferring a more manageable game in Stillwater. And after that game, the Cowboys head back out the next week for a game at Texas-San Antonio.

While spanning two seasons, it amounts to one of the longest road trips in OSU history and the first five-game stint away from home since a stretch bridging the 1988-89 seasons, when the Cowboys closed one year at Iowa State, then played Texas Tech in Tokyo, Japan, before a Holiday Bowl date with Wyoming in San Diego. To open 1989, OSU visited Tulsa and Ohio State.
 

Snyder’s Rebuild Still Going 
The rise of Kansas State’s football program under Bill Snyder, dubbed the Manhattan Miracle, is now in its second stage, with Snyder’s return from retirement ultimately paying off with a Big 12 championship last fall.

Phase 3 is well underway, as well, with a major renovation at the facility fittingly named Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. The project involves a reconstruction of the west side, which when finished will feature premium seating with outdoor suites, club and loge seating, a massive lounge and enhanced facilities for athletes in 16 sports.

The cost: $75 million.

Construction crews have been working around the clock, and ahead of schedule, to get the stadium ready for K-State’s Aug. 30 season opener against North Dakota State.


Coordinator Carousel

Oklahoma State

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Todd Monken; New: Mike Yurcich
Monken is now the head coach at Southern Miss. Yurcich is making the move from the Division II ranks, where he served as the offensive coordinator at Shippensburg (Pa.) University the past two seasons. The Red Raiders averaged 529.9 yards and 46.8 points per game in 2012.
 

Texas

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Bryan Harsin; New: Major Applewhite, Darrell Wyatt
Harsin is now the head coach at Arkansas State. Applewhite has been on the Texas staff since 2008. He was the assistant head coach and running backs coach from 2008-10 and the co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach from 2011-12. Wyatt has been the wide receivers coach the past two seasons. Applewhite will call the plays.
 

Texas Tech

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Neal Brown; New: Sonny Cumbie, Eric Morris
Brown is now the offensive coordinator at Kentucky, where he played wide receiver in the late 1990s. Cumbie, a former quarterback at Texas Tech, coached the Red Raiders’ outside receivers last season. He called the plays in Texas Tech’s 34–31 win over Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl after former coach Tommy Tuberville left for Cincinnati. Morris, also a former Red Raider, served as the inside receivers coach at Washington State last season, working for his former head coach, Mike Leach.


Defensive Coordinator
Old: Art Kaufman; New: Mike Smith, Matt Wallerstedt
Kaufman followed Tommy Tuberville to Cincinnati and is now the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator. Smith, a Lubbock native who started 45 games at linebacker for Texas Tech from 2001-04, was the outside linebackers coach for the New York Jets last season. Wallerstedt was the linebackers coach at Texas A&M last year, where he worked with new Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. Previously, he had stints as the defensive coordinator at Air Force and Wyoming.
 

West Virginia

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Joe DeForest, Keith Patterson; New: Keith Patterson
DeForest was stripped of his coordinator duties in the offseason but will remain on the staff and coach the West Virginia safeties. Patterson will serve as the Mountaineers’ lone defensive coordinator. 

 


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Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Football 2013 Predictions</p>
Post date: Monday, June 10, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/conference-usa-football-2013-predictions
Body:
2013 C-USA Predictions    
East Division C-USA Overall
1. Marshall 6-2 8-5
2. East Carolina 6-2 7-5
3. MTSU 5-3 7-5
4. UAB 4-4 5-7
5. Southern Miss 4-4 5-7
6. FAU 2-6 3-9
7. FIU 1-7 2-10
       
  West Division    
1. Tulsa 7-1 10-3
2. Rice 6-2 8-4
3. Louisiana Tech 6-2 7-5
4. UTEP 4-4 5-7
5. Tulane 2-6 4-8
6. North Texas 2-6 3-9
7. UTSA 1-7 1-11
       
  C-USA Championship  
  Tulsa over Marshall    

With the departure of Houston, UCF, Memphis and SMU to the American Athletic Conference, the landscape of Conference USA has changed for the 2013 season. And get ready to get out the eraser again next season, as Tulsa, East Carolina and Tulane depart, with Western Kentucky and Old Dominion sliding into their place.

While the depth of the conference took a hit with the departure of two teams that played for the C-USA title over the past two years, it’s also a new opportunity for some teams.

Marshall has yet to match its run of dominance from the 1990s in Conference USA, with its last season of more than seven wins coming in 2003. The Thundering Herd is Athlon’s pick to win the East Division this season, especially since they host East Carolina on Nov. 30 and return 14 overall starters, including quarterback Rakeem Cato. The big question mark for Marshall is a defense that allowed 43.1 points a game last year.

Much like Marshall, East Carolina returns a standout offense (31.5 points a game in 2012), but the defense is a question mark. Coach Ruffin McNeill switched coordinators, hiring Rick Smith to improve a defense that ranked 10th in the conference against the pass last year.

Outside of Marshall and East Carolina, the rest of the East Division is up for grabs. MTSU rebounded from an opening week loss to McNeese State to finish 8-4 last year. The Blue Raiders are a slight favorite to edge UAB and Southern Miss for the third spot. However, the Blazers and the Golden Eagles are trending in the right direction. FAU and FIU bring up the bottom of the East Division, and both teams have significant question marks going into 2013.

Defending Conference USA champion Tulsa must replace nine starters on defense, but the offense is loaded thanks to the return of quarterback Cody Green and running backs Trey Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas. The Golden Hurricane must play the top two teams from the East in the regular season, which could play a key role in deciding homefield advantage for the conference title game.

After finishing 2012 on a five-game winning streak, Rice should be Tulsa’s top challenger in the West. The Owls return 18 starters and won’t play Marshall or East Carolina during the regular season.

Louisiana Tech and UTEP are neck-and-neck for the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. The Bulldogs suffered a plethora of personnel losses, but welcome Texas Tech transfer Scotty Young at quarterback. The Miners also have a transfer at quarterback – Jameill Showers from Texas A&M - but return only three starters on defense. Both teams have a new coaching staff, with UTEP under the direction of former player Sean Kugler, and Louisiana Tech led by former USF and Connecticut coach Skip Holtz.

Tulane, North Texas and UTSA round out the West Division predictions. The Green Wave should show some signs of improvement in 2013, and the schedule is favorable enough to expect a run at bowl eligibility. North Texas is also making progress under third-year coach Dan McCarney, but expecting a huge jump in win total is unlikely for 2013. The Roadrunners went 8-4 in their first season on the FBS level last season. However, the schedule is very challenging, and coach Larry Coker needs another year or two to build depth in the program.
 

2013 Conference USA Team Previews

East Division West Division
East Carolina Louisiana Tech
FAU North Texas
FIU Rice
Marshall Tulane
MTSU Tulsa
Southern Miss UTEP
UAB UTSA


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Teaser:
<p> Conference USA Football 2013 Predictions</p>
Post date: Monday, June 10, 2013 - 07:40
Path: /college-football/sun-belt-football-predictions-2013
Body:
2013 Sun Belt Predictions SBC Overall
1. UL Lafayette 6-1 9-3
2. ULM 5-2 7-5
3. Western Kentucky 5-2 7-5
4. Arkansas State 4-3 6-6
5. Troy 4-3 6-6
6. Texas State 2-5 4-8
7. South Alabama 2-5 3-9
8. Georgia State 0-7 1-11
       

Much like many of the other conferences in college football, realignment has changed the Sun Belt’s team lineup for 2013.

FAU, FIU, MTSU and North Texas left to join Conference USA, leaving the Sun Belt with just eight teams for 2013. However, the Sun Belt is facing another round of changes next season, as New Mexico State and Idaho will join the conference, while Western Kentucky is headed to Conference USA. Georgia Southern and Appalachian State will make the move from FCS to FBS next year to compete in the Sun Belt. 

In time, the moves should provide the Sun Belt with some stability. However, it may take some time for the league's new members to become a yearly title contender. 

While realignment has dominated the Sun Belt over the last few offseasons, the race to win the conference title should be an entertaining four-way battle between UL Lafayette, ULM, Western Kentucky and Arkansas State.

The Ragin Cajuns’ are a slight favorite to win the league, but the Warhawks return 16 starters, including quarterback Kolton Browning. The Nov. 30 showdown between the Ragin’ Cajuns and Warhawks in Lafayette, La. could decide the Sun Belt crown.

Chasing UL Lafayette and ULM is Western Kentucky and Arkansas State. The Hilltoppers made one of the offseason’s top hires in former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino and return running back Antonio Andrews (1,728 yards in 2012). The Red Wolves will have their fourth coach in four years, but the personnel is among the best in the league.

Troy could have one of the best offenses in the Sun Belt, but the defense is a major question mark after allowing 443.6 yards per game last year.

Texas State, South Alabama and Georgia State round out the Sun Belt predictions for 2013. The Bobcats have the most upside out of this trio this year, and their hopes of getting to a winning record are bolstered by transfers Michael Orakpo (Colorado State) and D.J. Yendrey (TCU). South Alabama were competitive last year and return 15 starters for 2013. Georgia State made an excellent hire by pulling Trent Miles away from Indiana State, but the Panthers have a lot of ground to make up on the rest of the Sun Belt in their first season on the FBS level.

 

2013 Sun Belt Team Previews

Arkansas State Troy
Georgia State UL Lafayette
South Alabama UL Monroe
Texas State Western Kentucky


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Teaser:
<p> Sun Belt Football Predictions for 2013</p>
Post date: Friday, June 7, 2013 - 07:50
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-2013-predictions
Body:

 

2013 Big Ten Predictions    
Leaders Division
 
Big Ten Overall
1. Ohio State 8-0 13-0
2. Wisconsin 6-2 9-3
3. Penn State 4-4 8-4
4. Indiana 3-5 6-6
5. Purdue 2-6 4-8
6. Illinois 1-7 4-8
       
Legends Division    
1. Michigan 6-2 10-3
2. Nebraska 6-2 9-3
3. Northwestern 5-3 9-3
4. Michigan State 4-4 7-5
5. Minnesota 2-6 6-6
6. Iowa 1-7 4-8
       
Big Ten Championship    
Ohio State over Michigan    

2012 was not a banner year for the Big Ten. Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible to compete in a bowl game, leaving Wisconsin at 8-5 overall representing the conference in the Rose Bowl.

While 2012 was a shaky year for the conference, 2013 is looking better.

Ohio State is a national title contender and ranks as the No. 2 team in Athlon’s Top 25 for 2013.  The Buckeyes are led by a Heisman candidate in quarterback Braxton Miller, and the defense should be better in the second year under coordinators Luke Fickell and Everett Withers.

Wisconsin is Ohio State’s biggest challenger in the Leaders Division. The Badgers are under the direction of a new coach in Gary Andersen, and despite the departure of running back Montee Ball, should have one of the Big Ten’s top backfields with Melvin Gordon and James White.

Penn State is ineligible to play in the postseason once again, but the Nittany Lions should have a winning record in Bill O’Brien’s second year in Happy Valley.

Indiana is making progress under coach Kevin Wilson, and the schedule is favorable enough to expect a bowl appearance.

Purdue and Illinois round out the division, as both teams have a lot of holes to fill in 2013.

While there’s a clear pecking order in the Leaders Division, the Legends is a much tougher one to predict.

Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Northwestern each have legitimate conference title hopes. The Wolverines have a rising star in quarterback Devin Gardner, and the defense should be steady despite the departure of a couple of key performers. Michigan State’s offense is a huge question mark, while Nebraska returns only four starters on defense. Northwestern is loaded on offense, but the Wildcats feature a tough crossover schedule with games against Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Inside the War Room: Key Questions That Shaped Athlon's 2013 Predictions

What gave Michigan the edge over Nebraska in the Legends Division?

Both teams have some solid talent, but both teams are flawed. Michigan is breaking in three new starters on the offensive line and is looking for playmakers at wide receiver. In addition, the Wolverines must replace key personnel on each level of their defense. Nebraska should be terrific on offense, but the Huskers’ defense is a concern. Remember, this team gave up an average of 53.5 points and 595.0 yards in its four losses last season. Nebraska, which doesn’t play Ohio State or Wisconsin from the Leaders Division, has the easier schedule. But in the end, we went with Michigan for two reasons — the Wolverines host Nebraska in November, and the Huskers are tough to trust; they have had some puzzling losses in the last two years.

Was there any thought to not picking Ohio State to win the Leaders Division?

None. The only discussion about Ohio State was about how high we would pick the Buckeyes in the national rankings. And after a brief discussion, we put Ohio State No. 2, right behind Alabama. This isn’t a team with elite talent at every position, but the Buckeyes should be very good on offense, and they have a proven commodity in head coach Urban Meyer. The schedule isn’t overly taxing, either. Aside from the season-finale at Michigan, you could make a case that Ohio State’s toughest game could be the early October trip to Northwestern. Even if the Bucks don’t navigate the regular season without a loss — as we are predicting — it will be a huge surprise if they don’t win the division and play in the Big Ten Championship Game.

How can Michigan State be picked fourth in the Legends with a schedule that doesn’t include Ohio State, Wisconsin or Penn State?

This was a huge topic for debate as we tried to settle on our third-place team in the Legends, Northwestern or Michigan State. The Wildcats, on paper, have the better team. They return almost every key piece from a team that won 10 games — and held double-digit second-half leads in the three games they did not win. But Northwestern’s schedule is not kind; the Cats have to play Ohio State and Wisconsin from the Leaders and also travel to Nebraska. Michigan State, on the other hand, was handed a gift from the scheduling gods — no Ohio State, Wisconsin or Penn State. And for that reason, it was tempting to pick the Spartans ahead of Northwestern. Last year, much was made of Michigan State’s close losses. The Spartans lost five games by four points or less, but they also won four games by the same margin. And while there is a lot to like about this team — the defense will once again be stout — the offense remains a huge concern. So even with this relatively kind schedule, we don’t believe Michigan State will finish ahead of Northwestern in the league standings.

Is Indiana showing signs of progress under Kevin Wilson, or are the Hoosiers simply of a product of the soft second tier of the Leaders Division?

It’s a little bit of both. There’s no doubt that IU will benefit from playing in the weaker of the two divisions in 2013. The Hoosiers also have the added advantage of hosting the three most “winnable” games against its division foes — Penn State, Purdue and Illinois. But this program no doubt took a significant step forward in 2012, Wilson’s second season in Bloomington. The Hoosiers led the Big Ten in passing offense and ranked second in total offense en route to a 4–8 overall record and a 2–6 mark in the league. The offense should once again be among the best in the league. If the young defense can make the progression from bad to mediocre, Indiana will be in position to take advantage of its schedule and return to a bowl game for the first time since 2007.


Big Ten Team Previews

Leaders Division Legends Division
Illinois Iowa
Indiana Michigan
Ohio State Michigan State
Penn State Minnesota
Purdue Nebraska
Wisconsin Northwestern


Big Ten Notebook

Coaching Shuffle 
The Big Ten carousel didn’t spin quite as much as it did last year, when there were an unprecedented 40 total changes at the head coach and assistant levels, but the league had another long and active offseason of transactions. Wisconsin’s hiring of Jeff Genyk as tight ends coach/special teams coach in early March marked the 32nd and final (we think) coaching change in the Big Ten for the 2013 season.

Only two teams — Wisconsin and Purdue — hired new head coaches, but Darrell Hazell brought in an entirely new staff with the Boilers, and Gary Andersen retained only two assistants (Thomas Hammock and Ben Strickland) with the Badgers. Illinois kept Tim Beckman after a 2–10 debut, but Beckman had to replace more than half (five) of his assistants, four of whom left voluntarily.

Three Big Ten coordinators — Michigan State’s Dan Roushar (offense), Indiana’s Mike Ekeler (co-defense) and Penn State’s Ted Roof (defense) — left for other positions. Iowa welcomed in three new assistants for the second consecutive offseason, continuing a staff overhaul for a program that had seen tremendous continuity for much of the Kirk Ferentz era. Michigan saw its first coaching change of Brady Hoke’s tenure, as defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery left for Oklahoma.

The winter also featured two cases of intraleague coach poaching. Michigan State swiped Jim Bollman from Hazell’s staff at Purdue about a month after Bollman arrived. Hazell responded by hiring Jim Bridge — who had been at Illinois for about a month — to coach the Boilers’ offensive line.

Four Big Ten coaching staffs — Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State — remain fully intact for the 2013 season. Minnesota and Northwestern are the only FBS teams without a staff change for the past three seasons.
 

Welcome Returns
Quite a lot of firepower returns around the Big Ten for 2013. Thirty all-conference selections are back, the most since the 2005 season. The league also brings back the most first-team All-Big Ten selections (18) since 2005.

Eight of the 13 individual award winners from last season also return, including Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (Quarterback of the Year), Michigan’s Taylor Lewan (Offensive Lineman of the Year) and Penn State’s Allen Robinson (Wide Receiver of the Year).

Miller is the fourth consecutive Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year to return the following season. Seven of the top 10 rushers from 2012 are back, although the top three — Le’Veon Bell, Montee Ball and Denard Robinson — depart. The Big Ten also returns its top 10 receiving yards leaders from last season, led by Penn State’s Robinson.

Schedule Surge 
More Big Ten teams are moving out of cupcake city and strategically scheduling for the future college football playoff. Ohio State recently added home-and-home series against Oregon, Texas and TCU. Nebraska renewed its rivalry against Oklahoma with a home-and-home, and Wisconsin, often criticized for soft non-league slates, scheduled a blockbuster season opener in 2015 against Alabama at Cowboys Stadium. Other exciting future series include Michigan State-Oregon, Michigan-Arkansas and Northwestern-Stanford.
 

Name Change 
The Legends Division isn’t so legendary after all. The Leaders are forsaking some of their leadership.

The Big Ten will ditch the much-lampooned division names in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers join the league. Instead, the league will follow the lead of the SEC and Pac-12 with geographic divisions.

The East Division will feature Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. The West will include Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. All of the East teams are in the Eastern time zone, while every West team besides Purdue is in the Central time zone. Starting in 2016, the Big Ten will play a nine-game conference schedule.
 

Killer Crossovers 
The third year of division play means the crossover schedules flip for every Big Ten squad. That means good news for Michigan State, which doesn’t play Ohio State, Wisconsin or Penn State. Nebraska misses both the Buckeyes and the Badgers, while Wisconsin won’t face Michigan, Michigan State or Nebraska during the regular season. The crossover schedules get much harder for teams like Northwestern and Iowa, both of which get Ohio State and Wisconsin back on the schedule. Illinois plays three of the projected top four in the Legends division — Nebraska, Michigan State and Northwestern — and skips only Michigan.


Coordinator Carousel

Illinois

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Chris Beatty, Bill Gonzales; New: Bill Cubit
Beatty was fired after the 2012 season. He is now the wide receivers coach at Wisconsin. Gonzales left Illinois to become the wide receivers coach at Mississippi State. Cubit was fired by Western Michigan after eight seasons as the Broncos’ head coach. Previously, he was the offensive coordinator at Stanford, Rutgers, Missouri and Western Michigan. 
 

Indiana

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Doug Mallory, Mike Ekeler; New: Doug Mallory, William Inge
Ekeler left Indiana in late February to become the linebackers coach at USC. Inge comes to Indiana after serving as an assistant defensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills in 2012. Previously, he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for two seasons at the University of Buffalo.
 

Michigan State

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Dan Roushar; New: Jim Bollman, Dave Warner
Roushar left Michigan State to become the running backs coach with the New Orleans Saints. Bollman had accepted a job to be the offensive line coach at Purdue under new coach Darrell Hazell but left to join the Michigan State staff. In 2012, he was the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Boston College. Prior to that, he served as the OC at Ohio State for 11 years. Warner has been on the MSU staff as the quarterbacks coach for the past six seasons.
 

Penn State

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Ted Roof; New: John Butler
Roof left Penn State after one season to become the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, his alma mater. Butler was promoted to DC after serving as Penn State’s secondary coach in 2011.
 

Purdue

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Gary Nord; New: John Shoop
Nord has not landed a new job. Shoop was out of coaching last season. He previously served as the offensive coordinator at North Carolina from 2007-11 and also has a stint as the OC of the Chicago Bears (2001-03).

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Tim Tibesar; New: Greg Hudson
Tibesar was not retained by the new staff and was hired to coach linebackers by the Chicago Bears. He worked for new Bears coach Marc Trestman in the CFL. Hudson was the linebackers coach at Florida State from 2010-12. He was the DC at East Carolina from 2005-09.


Wisconsin

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Matt Canada; New: Andy Ludwig
Canada is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at NC State. Ludwig served as the offensive coordinator at San Diego State for the past two seasons. He has also had stints as the coordinator at California, Utah, Oregon and Fresno State.

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Chris Ash, Charlie Partridge; New: Dave Aranda
Ash and Partridge both followed Bret Bielema to Arkansas. Ash will be the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator, and Partridge will coach the defensive line. Aranda was the defensive coordinator at Utah State last season, working for new Badgers coach Gary Andersen. Prior to that, he spent two years as the DC at Hawaii. 
 

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Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Football 2013 Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 07:26
Path: /college-football/mac-football-2013-predictions
Body:
2013 MAC Predictions    
East Division   MAC Overall
1. Bowling Green 7-1 8-5
2. Ohio 6-2 9-3
3. Kent State 4-4 6-6
4. Buffalo 4-4 5-7
5. Miami (Ohio) 4-4 4-8
6. Akron 1-7 2-10
7. UMass 0-8 1-11
       
West Division      
1. Northern Illinois 7-1 10-3
2. Ball State 6-2 9-3
3. Toledo 6-2 8-4
4. Western Michigan 5-3 6-6
5. Central Michigan 2-6 3-9
6. Eastern Michigan 0-8 1-11
       
MAC Championship    
Northern Illinois over Bowling Green    

You can’t blame the MAC for not wanting 2012 to end after the league enjoyed its most successful season ever. Not only did the MAC send a team (Northern Illinois) to a BCS bowl for the first time, but league teams also combined to win a record 18 games against FBS opponents in non-conference action and had four different schools nationally ranked at some point during the season.

You could make the argument that last season the MAC was the second best non-AQ conference in the nation after the Mountain West.

Don’t expect another BCS bowl qualifier in 2013, but the MAC has a chance to be just as strong overall.

Northern Illinois is the favorite to repeat in the West thanks in large part to the return of dynamic quarterback Jordan Lynch. As a junior, Lynch ranked fourth in the nation in total offense with 3,138 yards passing and 1,815 yards rushing and a combined 44 touchdowns. Six other starters return on offense, including tailback Akeem Daniels and speedy wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. Defensively, NIU returns only three starters, one on each level.

Ball State and Toledo will be the biggest threats to Northern Illinois in the West. The Cardinals are loaded at the skill positions, with the return of quarterback Keith Wenning, wideouts Willie Snead and Jamill Smith, tight end Zane Fakes and running back Jahwan Edwards. Third-year coach Pete Lembo has done a tremendous job rebuilding this program. Toledo, like Ball State, will be explosive on offense but has issues on the defensive side of the ball. Only two starters returns from a defense that allowed 473.2 yards per game in 2012. The Rockets will be tested early with a Week 1 trip to Florida.

No team in the MAC has done less with more over the past few seasons than Western Michigan. As a result, there is new leadership in Kalamazoo, with former Northern Illinois star P.J. Fleck, 32, talking over for Bill Cubit. Central Michigan hopes to build off its surprising late-season run that was capped off with a win over Western Kentucky in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Zurlon Tipton is one of the most underrated tailbacks in the nation. Eastern Michigan has not had a winning season since 1995 and will struggle again in the rugged West Division.

Bowling Green is searching for its first division title since 2003. The Falcons will be outstanding on defense, even with the loss of tackle Chris Jones and linebacker Dwayne Woods. If the offense (11th in the MAC last season) improves, the Falcons will be the team to beat in the East. 

Under Frank Solich, Ohio has been the most consistent team in the division, but the Bobcats have yet to deliver in the MAC Championship Game. The return of quarterback Tyler Tettleton and tailback Beau Blankenship will keep the Ohio offense humming.

Kent State boasts the best one-two punch at tailback in the league with speedster Dri Archer and 250-pound bruiser Traylon Durham. Expect the Golden Flashes to be a run-oriented team once again as they break in a new quarterback under first-year coach Paul Haynes.

Buffalo played well down the stretch in 2012, winning three straight before losing by 14 at Bowling Green in the finale. With 15 starters back and a soft MAC schedule — no NIU or Ball State from the West — don’t be surprised if the Bulls make a move in ’13. Miami will rely on its speedy playmakers to overcome the graduation of QB Zac Dysert, a four-year starter who threw for 12,013 yards and 73 TDs.

Akron coach Terry Bowden had a rough first season in his return to the FBS ranks, but the Zips showed improvement and should be better in 2013. UMass struggled mightily in its first full season in the league — though the Minutemen did beat Akron in early November to avoid an 0–12 campaign.


2013 MAC Team Previews

East Division West Division
Akron Ball State
Bowling Green Central Michigan
Buffalo Eastern Michigan
Kent State Northern Illinois
Miami (Ohio) Toledo
Ohio Western Michigan
UMass  


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Teaser:
<p> MAC Football 2013 Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 07:25
Path: /college-football/elijah-hood-recruit-flushes-letter-alabama-notre-dame
Body:

Despite winning back-to-back national championships, not every elite recruit wants to play at Alabama. No, seriously.

One of the nation’s top running back recruits for the class of 2014 – Elijah Hood – poked a little fun at Alabama on Tuesday night. On his Vine account, Hood flushed one of the recruiting letters sent to him from the Crimson Tide and closed the video with a Roll Toilet – a humorous take on Alabama’s usual Roll Tide motto. His closing to the video also sparked the #RollToilet hashtag on Twitter.

Hood is committed to Notre Dame and ranks as the No. 13 national recruit by Rivals.com.

Needless to say, if the Fighting Irish continue to improve under Brian Kelly, and Nick Saban stays on the sidelines in Tuscaloosa, Hood should have a chance to matchup against Alabama in one of college football's top bowl games in the near future.

 

Teaser:
<p> Notre Dame Commit Elijah Hood Flushes Alabama Recruiting Letter&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 08:15
Path: /college-football/american-athletic-conference-football-2013-predictions
Body:
2013 American Predictions    
    American Overall
1. Louisville 7-1 11-1
2. Cincinnati 6-2 9-3
3. Rutgers 5-3 7-5
4. UCF 5-3 7-5
5. South Florida 5-3 7-5
6. UConn 3-5 5-7
7. Houston 3-5 5-7
8. SMU 3-5 4-8
9. Memphis 2-6 4-8
10. Temple 1-7 4-8

The conference formerly known as the Big East is still one in transition for the 2013 season.

There’s a new name and logo for 2013, along with more changes in the lineup of teams. Pittsburgh and Syracuse departed for the ACC, but the American Athletic Conference welcomes UCF, Houston, SMU and Memphis into the league for 2013. Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten) will leave after this year, but the conference has already secured Tulsa, East Carolina and Tulane to join the league for 2014.

While the transition has cast a large shadow on this league, the American Athletic Conference does have a legitimate national title contender for 2013 – Louisville. The Cardinals return 14 starters, including Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville needs to fill a couple of key voids on the offensive line, but Bridgewater and a solid defense should carry the Cardinals to the league championship.

Louisville’s biggest challenger appears to be Cincinnati. The Bearcats have a new coach (Tommy Tuberville), but the pieces are in place to push for 10 victories. Brendon Kay stabilized the quarterback spot in the second half of last season, and the defense should have the best linebacking corps in the conference for 2013. Cincinnati also hosts Louisville in the regular season finale, which could be a huge opportunity for the program to knock the Cardinals out of the national title picture.

Rutgers and UCF round out the top four in Athlon’s projected American Athletic Conference standings for 2013. The Scarlet Knights suffered some key personnel losses on defense, and need to get quarterback Gary Nova back on track after a disappointing finish to the season. The Knights could surprise this year, especially if the defense fills a few key voids in the front seven.

Behind new coach Willie Taggart, South Florida should be one of the most-improved teams in college football. The Bulls have an All-American caliber defensive end in Aaron Lynch, along with a transfer quarterback in Steven Bench to bolster the roster for 2013. The Bulls should benefit from a weak bottom of the league to get bowl eligible this year.

The final five spots in the conference are a tossup. Connecticut had one of the nation’s top-10 defenses last year, but the Huskies managed only 17.8 points a game. Coach Paul Pasqualoni hopes new coordinator T.J. Weist can push the right buttons on offense this year. If the Huskies are slightly better on offense in 2013, getting to a bowl game isn’t out of the question.

Houston and SMU could easily be switched in our projections, especially after the Cougars lost running back Charles Sims. Houston also needs to address a defense that ranked last in Conference USA in yards allowed last year. The Mustangs return quarterback Garrett Gilbert, but the defense must replace a couple of key performers, including end Margus Hunt.

Memphis and Temple round out the American projections for 2013. However, both teams appear to be on the right track. The Tigers showed big improvement under Justin Fuente last season, and Matt Rhule was a popular hire among the Temple fanbase.  
 

2013 American Athletic Conference Team Previews

Cincinnati Rutgers
Connecticut SMU
Houston South Florida
Louisville Temple
Memphis UCF


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Teaser:
<p> American Athletic Conference Football 2013 Predictions</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 07:50
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2013-predictions
Body:
2013 MWC Predictions MWC Overall
Mountain Division    
1. Boise State 8-0 12-1
2. Utah State 6-2 7-5
3. Air Force 4-4 6-6
4. Wyoming 4-4 7-5
5. Colorado State 3-5 5-8
6. New Mexico 1-7 4-8
       
West Division    
1. Fresno State 6-2 10-3
2. San Jose State 5-3 7-5
3. San Diego State 5-3 7-5
4. Nevada 5-3 6-6
5. UNLV 1-7 3-9
6. Hawaii 0-8 1-11
       
  MWC Championship    
  Boise State over Fresno State  

One of the underrated winners of the recent wave of conference realignment has been the Mountain West. Not only did the league keep Boise State and San Diego State after both schools flirted with — and even temporarily joined — the Big East, but the Mountain West has also poached four programs from the WAC in the last two years (Fresno State and Nevada after the 2011 season and San Jose State and Utah State after the ’12 season). These additions helped mitigate the losses of TCU, Utah and BYU.

Boise State is the best team in the league and the overwhelming favorite in the Mountain Division, but the balance of power — at least in the short term — is in the West Division. Fresno State, which quietly went 7–1 in its first year in the league last fall, is the pick to win the division thanks to an explosive offense that features elite talent at quarterback (Derek Carr) and wide receiver (Davante Adams). The race for second figures to be tight between San Jose State, San Diego State and Nevada. Both the Spartans and Wolf Pack are under new leadership, with Ron Caragher taking over for Mike MacIntyre in San Jose and Brian Polian now in charge in Reno.

There is quite a bit of fall-off after the “Big Four” in the West as UNLV and Hawaii might be two of the worst FBS teams in the nation. Bobby Hauck needs to show significant progress at UNLV after winning exactly two games in each of his first three seasons. Norm Chow’s first season at Hawaii did not go well — the Warriors went 1–7 in the league — and the prognosis for 2013 isn’t much better.

After taking a small step back last season, Boise State should be back to its usual explosive ways on offense with the return of quarterback Joe Southwick and a veteran offensive line. The Broncos’ toughest league test will be a trip to Fresno State for a Friday night showdown in late September.

League newcomer Utah State could be Boise’s biggest challenger in the Mountain Division. The Aggies lost coach Gary Andersen to Wisconsin but welcome back quarterback Chuckie Keeton. Air Force, as usual, is a bit of a mystery with so many new faces, but the Falcons will once again be a tough out in league play. Wyoming is poised to bounce back from a disappointing 4–8 season — if the Cowboys can keep talented junior quarterback Brett Smith healthy. Dave Christensen, entering his fifth year in Laramie, needs a strong season to stay off the hot seat.

Colorado State returns 15 starters from a team that won three of its last five games under first-year coach Jim McElwain. The Rams are getting better but are probably a year away from being a factor in the league race.

New Mexico won only one league game last year but showed marked improvement in the first year of the Bob Davie era. The Lobos, however, will have a tough time escaping the Mountain Division basement in 2013 unless they can find a way throw the ball with some success. Last season, UNM completed a total of 79 passes in 13 games.


2013 Mountain West Team Previews

Mountain Division West Division
Air Force Fresno State
Boise State Hawaii
Colorado State Nevada
New Mexico San Diego State
Utah State San Jose State
Wyoming UNLV

 


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Teaser:
<p> Mountain West Football 2013 Predictions</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 07:45
Path: /college-football/sec-football-2013-predictions
Body:
2013 SEC Predictions SEC Overall
East Division    
1. Georgia 7-1 10-3
2. South Carolina 6-2 10-2
3. Florida 5-3 9-3
4. Vanderbilt 4-4 8-4
5. Tennessee 3-5 6-6
6. Missouri 1-7 5-7
7. Kentucky 1-7 4-8
       
West Division    
1. Alabama 8-0 13-0
2. Texas A&M 6-2 10-2
3. LSU 5-3 9-3
4. Ole Miss 4-4 7-5
5. Mississippi State 3-5 6-6
6. Auburn 2-6 6-6
7. Arkansas 1-7 5-7
       
SEC Championship    
Alabama over Georgia    

The SEC looks to close out college football’s BCS era with an eighth consecutive championship.

Alabama has won two in a row and is a heavy favorite to claim the title in 2013. The Crimson Tide return 14 starters, including Heisman Trophy candidates in quarterback AJ McCarron and running back T.J. Yeldon. The defense ranked No. 1 nationally in 2012 but must replace cornerback Dee Milliner and lineman Jesse Williams.

Chasing Alabama for the No. 1 spot in the SEC will be a trio of teams. Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M appear to be the Crimson Tide’s biggest challengers. The Aggies return reigning Heisman winner in quarterback Johnny Manziel, but the defense is a big question mark. Georgia’s defense has to be revamped, while the offense could be the best in the SEC. South Carolina didn’t suffer any huge losses from last year, but receiver Ace Sanders and end Devin Taylor, along with the linebacking corps won’t be easy to replace.

In addition to Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M, Florida and LSU should be among the best 15 squads in the nation. The Tigers suffered some heavy departures on defense, but LSU always seems to reload on that side of the ball. Florida also suffered some key losses on defense, and the offense needs to find a spark in the passing attack.

Ole Miss and Vanderbilt rank just outside of Athlon’s top 25 teams for 2013, and both programs are steadily improving behind two of college football’s rising stars at head coach in James Franklin (Vanderbilt) and Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss).

Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn and Arkansas will all break in a new head coach this year. All four programs should benefit from the coaching change in 2013 over the next couple of seasons. However, each still has a ways to go before climbing into SEC title discussion.

Inside the War Room: Key Questions That Shaped Athlon's 2013 Predictions

Three teams were discussed for the top spot in the SEC East. Why was Georgia the pick?

It was a tough call, but Georgia got the nod over South Carolina and Florida because of its prowess on offense. The Bulldogs feature an elite quarterback (Aaron Murray), two All-SEC-caliber tailbacks (Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall), a deep collection of wide receivers and a veteran offensive line. The Bulldogs, assuming the key players remain healthy, will score a ton of points this fall. Georgia must replace some outstanding players on defense, but the Dawgs still have plenty of talent on that side of the ball and there shouldn’t be too much drop-off. South Carolina should be very good on both sides of the ball and would be a worthy pick for No. 1, but we were a bit concerned about the lack of proven playmakers on offense. The concern for Florida is an offense that ranked 12th in the SEC last year with 334.4 yards per game. The Gators must become more balanced to emerge as a national title contender.

Alabama was the unanimous No. 1 pick in the SEC and the nation. Is there any reason to believe the Crimson Tide will stumble?

Not really. Alabama has recruited so well over the past five years and is so well-coached that it’s tough to find a reason not to pick the Crimson Tide to win yet another SEC title. The biggest cause for concern is the offensive line, which must replace three All-SEC first-teamers — Barrett Jones, D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack. However, the two returning starters — Cyrus Kouandjio and Anthony Steen — are preseason All-SEC picks, and there are plenty of talented players ready to emerge. The biggest hurdle on the schedule is a September trip to Texas A&M, but Alabama still won the SEC title last year despite losing to the Aggies in the regular season.

Most teams that suffered the type of personnel losses that LSU did would get penalized more heavily in the preseason rankings. Do the Tigers get the benefit of the doubt?

It’s fair to say we might make some assumptions about a program like LSU — which has been so good for the past decade — that we don’t make about other teams with less of a track record. This year’s team must replace nine key players on defense. That would cripple most programs, but LSU is not like most programs. The Tigers have been so consistently strong on defense that we can assume there will be enough quality replacements to keep the defense among the best in the league. Now, we don’t expect LSU to be as dominant as it’s been in the past three years, but we’d be surprised if the Tigers didn’t finish in the top-five in the SEC in total defense. Having said all that, we did pick LSU third in the SEC West and No. 12 overall — not exactly among the elite of the elite. That, however, has as much to do with our concerns about LSU’s rather ordinary offense as it does the exodus of talent on defense.

Vanderbilt is picked ahead of Tennessee in the SEC East for the first time ever. What was the rationale?

Vanderbilt was clearly the better team last year, and based on the personnel returning to both programs, there’s no reason to believe the 2013 season will be any different. The Commodores went 5–3 in the league last year and outgained their SEC opponents (plus-5.3 yards per game) for the first time in at least four decades. Tennessee stumbled through a 1–7 SEC record and was outgained by 80.3 yards per game. Despite suffering some key losses on offense — quarterback Tyler Bray and their top four pass-catchers — Tennessee should be improved under new coach Butch Jones. Vanderbilt, however, should still finish ahead of the Vols in the standings.

Are you projecting Auburn to bounce back?

The quick answer: Yes. The tougher question: How much? This was hotly debated in our meeting. We ended up picking the Tigers to finish sixth in the SEC West (up from seventh) and project a 2–6 league record (up from 0–8). We believe this team will be vastly improved, but it’s tough to find too many wins on the league schedule.


2013 SEC Team Previews

East Division West Division
Florida Alabama
Georgia Arkansas
Kentucky Auburn
Missouri LSU
South Carolina Mississippi State
Tennessee Ole Miss
Vanderbilt Texas A&M


SEC Notebook

Talking Some Trash
You know Nick Saban is “The Man” on the SEC pedestal when multiple coaches take shots at him in the offseason. And you know Saban is feared enough that those coaches quickly take it back.

First, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin referred to the Alabama coach as “Nicky Satan” during a speaking engagement. He later apologized to Saban, and Franklin said he had been joking. (Which clearly he was.)

Then Arkansas’ Bret Bielema caused a stir by telling a local Razorback Club that “I didn’t come here to play Alabama. I came here to beat Alabama. You can take Saban’s record when he was at Michigan State and when he was a coach in the Big Ten and put it against mine, and it can’t compare.”

Bielema was technically correct: He was 68–24 overall and 37–19 in the Big Ten while at Wisconsin from 2006-12, while Saban was 34–24–1 overall and 23–16–1 in the conference at Michigan State from 1995-99.

But Bielema still felt the need to take to Twitter and say: “Alabama quotes were a joke to a question from a fan at pep rally. #wow.”

Saban didn’t respond publicly to either slight, which seems to be following a recent pattern in the SEC.

And the Bielema jabs weren't the last comment lobbied in Saban's direction this offseason. Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis referred to Saban as the "devil himself"at a booster club meeting in May.

Remember how Steve Spurrier and Phillip Fulmer threw verbal volley back and forth in the ‘90s? (Mostly Spurrier towards Fulmer.) And then how Lane Kiffin’s one year in the conference resulted in a memorable verbal war with Urban Meyer, and even Spurrier on one occasion?

The SEC has a rich history of coaching trash talk, but the tendency lately has been to turn the other cheek.

Take last year, when Spurrier was quoted as saying he was unhappy his game with Georgia was moved to later in the season because the Bulldogs usually had players suspended for the first two games. Georgia’s Mark Richt laughed off the shot, saying, “That sounds like Steve.”

It did sound like Spurrier, but in this day and age the fun and quotable coaches are becoming more and more rare. And Spurrier probably won’t be on the scene much longer.

But perhaps if Bielema and Franklin stick around the conference long enough, and enjoy a high level of  success, the bulletin board will fill up a bit more.
 

The New World

This marks the final year of the BCS era. So why would the SEC, having won seven BCS championships in a row, have led the fight for a four-team playoff?

Because there’s nothing to suggest the conference won’t dominate the coming format, and make even more money in the process. SEC teams went 6–3 in bowls last year, and since 1996 the conference has a .614 bowl winning percentage. The only bowl season it had a losing record was 2002.

Yes, there have been some duds for the conference. Those have usually involved games against upstarts from outside the five major conferences: Florida losing to Louisville last season, Alabama falling to Utah in January 2009.

But the SEC is not only unbeaten in the last seven BCS Championship Games (not counting LSU losing to Alabama in 2012), but the conference has won four out of the past five Capital One Bowls, nine of the past 10 Cotton Bowls and three of the past four Outback Bowls. Those are the SEC’s top bowl tie-ins after the BCS. (SEC teams have lost three of the past four Sugar Bowls, but prior to that the league had won six of the previous seven.)

Given all that, the SEC is pretty confident it can still dominate the new system. That’s why it also pushed to de-emphasize conference affiliation when it comes to picking the BCS bowls that don’t involve the four-team playoff. Last year’s final BCS standings (prior to the bowls) had six SEC teams in the top 10.

So if that many teams potentially could have been in BCS bowls, but only two made it in the BCS last year, what reason did the SEC have to keep the old system? None, that’s why Mike Slive and company led the charge for change.
 

Third Time's A Charm?

Georgia is obviously hoping to get back to the SEC Championship Game, and will be favored by many to do so. But if the Bulldogs get there and lose again, they will have a strange distinction: The first team in major conference history to lose three straight championship games.

Alabama is the only other SEC team that has lost it twice in a row, 1993 and 1994. (The Crimson Tide also lost in 1996 and 2008.)

But Georgia is also seeking to become just the third SEC team to reach the championship three times in a row, and the first since Florida and Alabama met in the first three SEC championship games. (Florida made it five in a row, winning it from 1992-96.)
 

Coordinator Carousel

Arkansas

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Paul Petrino; New: Jim Chaney
Petrino is now the head coach at Idaho. Chaney previously served as the OC at Tennessee, with one year under Lane Kiffin and three under Derek Dooley.

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Paul Haynes; New: Chris Ash
Haynes is now the head coach at Kent State, his alma mater. Ash spent the previous three seasons on Bret Bielema’s staff at Wisconsin.
 

Auburn

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Scot Loeffler; New: Rhett Lashlee, Dameyune Craig
Loeffler, who was only at Auburn for one season, landed on his feet as the offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech. Lashlee was the offensive coordinator under Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State last season. Craig was the quarterbacks coach at Florida State. Malzahn will call the plays.
 

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Brian VanGorder; New: Ellis Johnson, Charlie Harbison
VanGorder returned to the NFL as the linebackers coach with the Jets. Johnson was fired after one season as the head coach at Southern Miss. Harbison was the co-defensive coordinator at Clemson for the past four seasons.

Florida

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Dan Quinn; New: D.J. Durkin
Quinn is now the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks. Durkin previously was the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Florida.
 

Kentucky

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Randy Sanders; New: Neal Brown
Sanders is now the running backs coach at Florida State. Brown, a Kentucky grad, had been the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech the past three seasons.

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Rick Minter; New: D.J. Eliott
Minter, not retained by the new staff, is now the linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Eliott previously was the defensive ends coach at Florida State, where he worked for new Kentucky coach Mark Stoops.
 

LSU

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Greg Studrawa; New: Cam Cameron
Studrawa, the offensive coordinator at LSU the past two seasons, will remain on staff as the Tigers’ O-line coach. Cameron was the OC with the Baltimore Ravens from 2008 through Week 14 of the 2012 season, when he was fired.
 

Missouri

Offensive Coordinator
Old: David Yost; New: Josh Henson
Yost resigned under pressure in December after Missouri averaged 356.4 yards per game in 2012 — the lowest at the school since 2004. He was hired in January by Washington State as the inside receivers coach. Henson had been Missouri’s co-offensive line coach since 2009.
 

Mississippi State

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Geoff Collins, Chris Wilson; New: Geoff Collins
Wilson was stripped of his title as co-defensive coordinator and then left the school to take the a job as defensive line coach at Georgia. Collins had been the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
 

Ole Miss

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Dave Wommack, Wesley McGriff; New: Dave Wommack, Jason Jones
McGriff left after Signing Day and is now the secondary coach of the New Orleans Saints. Jones had been the cornerbacks coach at Oklahoma State for the past five seasons.
 

Tennessee

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Jim Chaney; New: Mike Bajakian
Chaney was not retained by the new staff, but landed as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas. Bajakian was previously the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati (2010-12) and Central Michigan (2007-09).

Defensive Coordinator
Old: Sal Sunseri; New: John Jancek
Sunseri is now the defensive ends coach at Florida State. Jancek was the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati from 2010–12. He previously served in the SEC from 2005-09, as a linebackers coach (’05-08) and a co-defensive coordinator (’09).
 

Texas A&M

Offensive Coordinator
Old: Kliff Kingsbury; New: Clarence McKinney, Jake Spavital
Kingsbury is now the head coach at Texas Tech. McKinney was the Aggies’ running backs coach last season. Spavital had been the quarterbacks coach at West Virginia the previous two seasons. He was a grad assistant at Houston in 2009 under Kevin Sumlin.

 


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College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 26-40

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College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 101-125

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<p> SEC Football 2013 Predictions</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 10:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-2013-preseason-rankings-101-125
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The start of the 2013 college football season is still a few months away. However, Athlon Sports is already counting down the teams for the upcoming year.

Alabama is Athlon’s pick to win the national championship, with Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes expected to finish No. 2 nationally.

Athlon finishes its release of its college football rankings with a look at teams No. 101-125.

With the completion of Athlon's college football Top 25 for 2013, it's time to take a look at the rest of the rankings, beginning with No. 26-4041-6061-80, and 81-100. 

Note: Ranking is where team is projected to finish at the end of the 2013 season

College Football 2013 Team Rankings: 101-125

101. Kent State
Kent State won a school-record 11 games, captured its first title of any kind (MAC East) since 1972 and spent three weeks in the BCS rankings. Expectations are high once again in 2013.

On offense, running backs Dri Archer and Trayion Durham must produce, especially since the Flashes will be breaking in a new starting quarterback. The offensive line, a major asset last season, must develop in a hurry. On defense, the line and secondary are deep and talent-laden. Defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix is a force who changes game plans. Much will depend on finding linebackers. Special teams should be strong once again.

The schedule provides Kent State with little help. In non-league games, the Flashes travel to LSU and Penn State in back-to-back weeks. In the league, they play two of the top teams in the West (Northern Illinois and Ball State) and must travel to Ohio. Repeating as East champs will be difficult, but Kent State should reach bowl-eligibility for the second straight season. 

2013 Kent State Golden Flashes Team Preview


102. Western Michigan
For eight seasons, the Broncos produced exciting offense and tantalizing moments under Bill Cubit, but never quite put it all together. Alex Carder’s hand injury early last fall led to a 4–8 season, the worst of Cubit’s tenure.

P.J. Fleck has fewer years on earth than Cubit does as a coach. But he’s made a number of stops in a short time — coaching in the MAC, at the BCS level and in the NFL. The former All-MAC wideout at Northern Illinois is selling to his players that he’s been exactly where they are and where they want to be.

“We’ve got to prove to them why we should be trusted, why this scheme will work for us. It’s a two-way street,” Fleck says.

Trust is only part of the equation. Like with most of Cubit’s teams, there are a few big-time weapons on the roster. But depth and defense are in question.

2013 Western Michigan Broncos Team Preview


103. Buffalo
For the last 10 seasons, Buffalo rarely has had a lack of athletes on the field. The biggest problem for the Bulls has been putting it all together, and in 2012, that didn’t happen until late last season. After a 3–9 season in 2011 — including a win over East Division champion Ohio — the Bulls took a slight step forward in 2012, and Jeff Quinn was rewarded with a three-year contract extension. With a solid returning group and a year of experience, the Bulls could take a another step forward in the MAC East.

2013 Buffalo Bulls Team Preview


104. UNLV
Many eyebrows were raised when former UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood brought back Bobby Hauck for a fourth season following back-to-back-to-back two-win seasons that included home losses to FCS teams Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Hauck has tried to rebuild using mainly high school recruits and finally has some experience with 14 returning starters and solid depth on both sides of the ball. He likely needs to get to six wins and a bowl game to be invited back for another year.

The schedule, which features two well-positioned byes, is favorable for a momentum-building quick start with four of the first six games at home and another at rebuilding New Mexico.

2013 UNLV Rebels Team Preview


105. Arkansas State
Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn set a high bar for Bryan Harsin, the former offensive coordinator at Boise State and Texas. They didn’t leave the roster barren, either. David Oku, J.D. McKissic, Ryan Carrethers, Qushaun Lee and Sterling Young are among the Sun Belt’s best at their positions.

A coaching transition is nothing new for the Red Wolves, who are on their fourth head coach in as many seasons, but they haven’t lined up without Ryan Aplin since the middle of the 2009 season. Finding an adequate replacement at quarterback is the key to their hopes of earning a third straight bowl bid and making a push for the Sun Belt title.

2013 Arkansas State Red Wolves Team Preview


106. Troy
Larry Blakeney has 169 career wins at Troy, more than the rest of the current Sun Belt coaches combined at their respective schools. But the last two seasons have been very un-Trojan-like, especially after Troy had won or shared the league title the previous five years. Troy surrendered 29 or more points nine times in 2012 and was last in the league in red zone defense, prompting a retooling of the defensive staff and scheme.

With Corey Robinson’s arm, the Trojans will be a threat on every offensive possession, but they won’t be in title contention unless the defense makes a quantum leap forward.

2013 Troy Trojans Team Preview


107. UAB
UAB will be better in Garrick McGee’s second season as the head coach. Will that show in the win-loss column? It should, even though the Blazers’ non-conference slate includes trips to SEC members LSU and Vanderbilt and in-state rival Troy during the first four weeks of the season. If the Blazers are healthy after that stretch, they could threaten to finish in the upper echelon of the revamped Conference USA. If not, then it could be another difficult season.  

2013 UAB Blazers Team Preview


108. Southern Miss
Not only does Todd Monken inherit a team that was winless in 2012, but he also faces an early season challenge with consecutive road games against Nebraska, Arkansas and Boise State. Expect Monken to quickly restore some credibility on offense, where the Golden Eagles managed only 19.7 points and 322.8 yards per game a year ago. And expect the return of David Duggan as defensive coordinator to address deficiencies there. The Eagles allowed a very un-Southern Miss-like 37.8 points and 426.5 yards per game in 2012.

2013 Southern Miss Golden Eagles Team Preview


109. Tulane
Curtis Johnson was 2–10 in his maiden season as a college head coach. It was a difficult year, even discounting the 10 losses, since the toughest thing he faced was the terrifying spinal cord injury suffered by senior safety Devon Walker. Johnson had to hold his team together while working through his own grief over Walker’s devastating injury.

Now Johnson prepares for his second season with a roster that should be improved. If Nick Montana or Devin Powell plays well at quarterback and Orleans Darkwa remains healthy, the Green Wave could double their win total from a year ago.

2013 Tulane Green Wave Team Preview


110. North Texas
The schedule sets up reasonably well. North Texas plays its season opener at home for the first time since 2001, as Idaho comes to Denton. And in their first year in Conference USA, the Mean Green will play three straight home games against Texas schools with late-season contests versus Rice, UTEP and UTSA.

“The first game being at home is a big deal,” Dan McCarney says. “Every offseason, we sell our program and all the excitement around it, and then the first thing we do is get on a plane to play somewhere else. But this year is our 100-year celebration. We have intrastate rivalries starting up. And the program is getting where we want it to be. There are good vibes in the air here.”

Regardless of the optimism, UNT remains a solid yet unspectacular team. The Mean Green went 4–8 last season and have shown moderate improvement under McCarney, and they seem to be on the same steady path in C-USA this season.

2013 North Texas Mean Green Team Preview


111. Central Michigan
In early November, it looked like Dan Enos might not see a fourth season as CMU’s coach. The Chippewas were 3–6, coming off of a home loss to rival Western Michigan, and appeared headed for their third losing season under Enos. Then, improbably, CMU won three straight and snuck into the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, where it upset Western Kentucky.

Suddenly Enos had a four-year contract extension. “It was a great thing for our program at the right time,” Enos says of the late-season run and bowl victory.

The vibe is now about taking the next step, rather than rebuilding. The schedule, though, isn’t kind. After a rare seven-home-game slate in 2012 (followed by an in-state bowl game), the Chippewas only have five home games this fall — with two of them coming against MAC West powers Northern Illinois and Toledo. A return to the postseason is unlikely. 

2013 Central Michigan Chippewas Team Preview


112. Miami (Ohio)
Significant strides have been lacking in Don Treadwell’s first two seasons as the head coach at his alma mater, and the climb is shaping up to be steep again in 2013, the 125th season of Miami football. After completing 12 consecutive winning campaigns, the RedHawks have finished below .500 in six of the last seven seasons. The non-conference schedule seems to be a little easier, with Kentucky and Illinois replacing Ohio State and Boise State.

Quarterback Austin Boucher proved his raw talent in 2010, but he’s going to have to quickly knock off the rust to get the most out of his one season at the helm. He might end up among the team’s rushing leaders again unless one (or more) of the top three returning ball-carriers shows dramatic improvement. The running game will be better, but not eye-popping.

Defensively, good health will go a long way toward overcoming inexperience issues.

2013 Miami (Ohio) RedHawks Team Preview


113. Army 
There are a few new faces and several revamped job descriptions on the coaching staff. Still, the most anticipated change will be at quarterback. An occasional shotgun look will allow A.J. Schurr to utilize his strong arm and give opposing defenses something to think about beyond the option. The defense has nowhere to go but up, which it will do if enough of the young players who were forced into action in 2012 emerge as difference-makers in 2013. If they fail to do so, it will not matter how Schurr — or any other quarterback — performs.

2013 Army Black Knights Team Preview


114. Akron
The second year of the Terry Bowden Era likely will produce the program’s eighth consecutive losing record. Road games at Michigan and UCF can dim anyone’s lights, and the MAC crossover games are against Northern Illinois, Toledo and Ball State — which could be the best three teams in the West.

The offense was exciting last season in a move to the spread and likely will be a fun to watch again. Kyle Pohl must follow Dalton Williams’ example  — get the ball to his playmakers while limiting turnovers. Jawon Chisholm needs to approach (or surpass) the 1,000-yard mark, and it would be nice if one or two receivers separated themselves from the pack. The defense is generally undersized and may only be better if some of the returnees improve drastically or are pushed aside by newcomers.

2013 Akron Zips Team Preview


115. Texas State
Coming off a 6–6 campaign as an FBS independent in 2011, Texas State opened its second year under coach Dennis Franchione (in his second stint with the school) with an upset of Houston but finished 4–8 overall and 2–4 in conference play in the program’s only season as a WAC member. This season the Bobcats are on the move again as they join the Sun Belt.

This year’s schedule could be a challenge as Texas State will play five bowl teams, including road games against Texas Tech, New Orleans Bowl winner UL Lafayette and two-time Sun Belt champion Arkansas State. The Bobcats hope to build off last season when they had six losses to bowl-eligible teams.

Franchione is optimistic Texas State will have a breakout season after adding eight 3-star recruits (according to Rivals) and 11 junior college transfers. For the Bobcats to improve, they must answer questions at quarterback and running back and make big strides defensively.

2013 Texas State Bobcats Team Preview


116. FAU
Prior to replacing program patriarch Howard Schnellenberger, Carl Pelini served as the defensive coordinator for Nebraska. Still, he didn’t inherit anywhere near the same talent that he had in Lincoln, and the progress of the defense proved uneven in 2012. The offense was uneven, too, as Wright was limited in what he could do with Wilbert.

Now Pelini has a few more of his players, bringing in a recruiting class widely regarded as among the best in school history. FAU appears to be moving in the right general direction in some areas — its penalty yardage, for instance, was way down in Pelini’s first season. The out-of-conference schedule, while still including an opener at Miami, isn’t quite as brutal as in 2012, when the Owls faced Georgia and Alabama on the road in consecutive weeks.

Yet the move to Conference USA, a year ahead of schedule, could make the ride bumpy, as could the inexperience at quarterback.

2013 FAU Owls Team Preview


117. South Alabama
The USA program, which played its first game in 2009, is now eligible for the for the Sun Belt title and a bowl bid. But it will be difficult to compete for either, unless the newcomers are fast starters. A 2–11 record last season included five losses of 10 points or less, but Jones warns that USA must move beyond moral victories.

“If our players think those close losses are suddenly going to flip into wins the next year, they are sadly mistaken,” Joey Jones says. “We have Sun Belt experience now. We’ve been competitive, and that’s good. But now we need to win.”

USA has one win over a full-fledged FBS member in its two seasons of transition to the highest division, but it could be aided by turnover in Sun Belt membership. Texas State and Georgia State will be the newcomers, instantly promoting USA’s status in the league. Most teams making the FBS transition suffer during roster turnover. USA’s evolution will be determined by how much the junior college transfers contribute.

2013 South Alabama Jaguars Team Preview


118. FIU
Last season was a downer, with FIU falling well short of expectations. Still, the dismissal of the popular Mario Cristobal — who ended up at Alabama after a brief stop at Miami — was not well-received by many Panthers backers, who felt he’d done enough to elevate the program that he should have gotten another shot. Now Ron Turner, who won Big Ten Coach of the Year back in 2001, takes over during a transitional time, with the move from the Sun Belt to Conference USA, a low number of starters returning, and a rather small recruiting class.

The Panthers had better beat Bethune-Cookman early on, or else they could be 0–4 before the bye. Then it will be even harder to bring back the enthusiasm that was prevalent around this program only two years ago.

2013 FIU Golden Panthers Team Preview


119. Hawaii
Norm Chow’s first season as Hawaii’s head coach was a struggle, and the schedule only gets tougher for 2013. Chow  used the offseason to shake up his coaching staff on the offensive side with the addition of line coach Chris Naeole, coordinator Aaron Price and quarterbacks coach Jordan Wynn. It’s imperative that Hawaii shows significant improvement on offense after scoring 14 points or less in six of its 12 games last season. The Warriors must also start to win the turnover battle; they ranked 110th in the nation last year. 

The schedule won’t allow for Chow’s team to ease into the season. The first five games are against bowl teams. Hawaii will have a tough time finishing out of the basement in the new MWC West division.

2013 Hawaii Warriors Team Preview


120. Eastern Michigan
After going 6–6 overall and 4–4 in the MAC in 2011, Eastern Michigan appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough last fall. Didn’t happen. The Eagles slumped to 2–10 in 2012 and won only one game in the league.

With some chemistry issues that hurt last year’s team apparently solved, there is plenty of desire to right the ship in 2013. Desire is one thing. Talent is another. There are some bright spots — the running game should be strong and the secondary has a chance to be solid — but there are too many hurdles for this team to climb. The Eagles will have a tough time finishing out of the basement in the always tough MAC West.

2013 Eastern Michigan Eagles Team Preview


121. UTSA
Larry Coker, who won a national championship at Miami, needed only one season to work his magic at UTSA. On the heels of the program’s 4–6 inaugural campaign, the Roadrunners went 8–4 overall and 3–3 in the WAC to finish fourth in the league. All four of their losses were to teams that were bowl-eligible.

Coker now leads UTSA into the new-look Conference USA. The Roadrunners will not be a full FBS member and bowl eligible until 2014, but they are experienced (51 returning letterwinners) and have intriguing non-conference home games against Oklahoma State and Houston. The schedule will be challenging. After facing four non-FBS opponents last year, UTSA will play no lower-level schools and five teams that were bowl-eligible in 2012. The Roadrunners could surprise again, but the offense must continue to thrive and the defense must do a better job limiting big plays.

2013 UTSA Roadrunners Team Preview


122. New Mexico State
These Aggies should be improved in 2013, if for no other reason than they’ll have a more effective gameplan offensively. While there is talent on defense, a new scheme is in place on that side of the ball as well, and there could be growing pains. Doug Martin has brought in a breath of fresh air and a positive outlook since taking over in February.

After the implosion of the WAC, New Mexico State will play as an Independent in 2013 before moving to the Sun Belt (for its second stint in the league) in 2014. The schedule features four games against BCS conference opponents plus tough dates against San Diego State, UL Lafayette and Rice. It’s hard to find more than two wins for the Aggies. 

2013 New Mexico State Aggies Team Preview


123. Idaho
This is a true transition year for the Idaho program. It will play as an FBS Independent before moving to the Sun Belt Conference in 2014. The good news for Paul Petrino is that he’ll have a number of young players who’ll get experience and exposure to his system, which should help the Vandals when they make the move back to the conference they called home from 2001-04.

Without a conference championship to play for or an automatic bowl tie-in, Idaho must find motivation from within to make this season meaningful. The schedule features four games against teams from AQ conferences as well as three games against a trio of non-AQ schools (Northern Illinois, Fresno State and Arkansas State) that combined to win 31 games last season. The Vandals could struggle to win more than a game or two.

2013 Idaho Vandals Team Preview


124. UMass
This is UMass’ first season where it’s eligible to qualify for a bowl. But with Wisconsin, Kansas State and Vanderbilt on the non-conference schedule and the MAC coming off its best year ever, playing after November seems like an extreme long shot for the Minutemen.

2013 UMass Minutemen Team Preview


125. Georgia State
There is no question that coach Trent Miles faces an uphill climb in Year 1 with the move from FCS to FBS and the Sun Belt Conference. Georgia State struggled to compete in the CAA last season, finishing 1–7 and losing six of those games by at least 20 points.

But Miles is no stranger to rebuilds. Indiana State was the worst FCS program in the nation when he was hired in 2008, with a 1–32 record in the three seasons prior to his arrival. He struggled early, but went 19–14 (13–11 in the Missouri Valley) in his final three seasons. The guy clearly knows how to coach.

2013 Georgia State Panthers Team Preview


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College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2013 Preseason Rankings: 101-125</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 07:35

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